Friend or Foe

Friend or Foe

An Anglo-Saxon History of France

Book - 2004
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To coincide with the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, this title explores france from Caesar to Mitterand.

Blackwell North Amer
A century after the Entente Cordiale ended centuries of war and enmity between France and Britain and two hundred years after the coronation of Britain's deadly enemy, Napoleon Bonaparte, as Emperor, Alistair Horne contemplates two thousand years of France.
The Entente Cordiale meant different things to the signatories. For France it meant, quite simply, the certainty, at last, of an ally who would counter-balance the dread power of Kaiser Wilhelm II's vast and menacing Reich on her doorstep. At terrible, unacceptable cost for France, it would bring victory in 1918 and regain the lost provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, so brutally torn from her thirty-three years previously, but predictable defeat in 1940.
For Britain the Entente, if it signified the end of all those centuries of conflict with France, it also meant inevitable involvement in a major European war, for the first time since 1815 - and against a new enemy. And, as Alistair Horne makes clear, the Entente was still to leave an unbalanced alliance that was not sufficiently powerful enough to defeat Germany by itself in 1914-1917.
Yet the relationship between France and Britain has never been plain sailing for long. Even in July 1940 Britain's killing of a thousand French sailors at Oran, out of the necessity of fighting Hitler, struck a terrible blow at the soul of France - and brought Churchill, that great francophile, to tears in the Commons. The following year British troops were killing Vichy French in Syria. Sixty years on the rift over the Iraq war emphasised once again that a slim channel of water may be all that separates the countries physically but, in temperament, in attitudes and in life generally, the differences remain immense.

Publisher: London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004
ISBN: 0297848941
Branch Call Number: 944 HOR
Characteristics: xix, 428 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), 4 maps, ports. (some col.) ; 25 cm

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Once one has read the brilliant "Seven Ages of Paris", Mr. Horne's other books on the History of France are rather repetitive. He remains, however, along with Barbara Tuchman, an accessible and truly great writer as well as a scholar.

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