We are endlessly fascinated by the French. We are fascinated by their way of life, their creativity and sophistication, and even their insistence that they are exceptional. But how did France become the country it is today, and what really sets it apart?
Historian Peter Watson sets out to answer these questions in this dazzling history of France, taking us from the seventeenth century to the present day through the nation’s most influential thinkers. He opens the doors to the Renaissance salons that brought together poets, philosophers and scientists, and tells the forgotten stories of the extraordinary women who ran these institutions, fostering a culture of stylish intellectualism unmatched anywhere else in the world. It’s a story that takes us into Bohemian cafés and cabarets, into chic Parisian high culture via French philosophies of food, fashion and sex, and through two explosive revolutions.
The French Mind is a history propelled by the writers, revolutionaries and painters who loved, inspired and rivalled one another over four hundred years. It documents the shaping of a nation whose global influence, in art, culture and politics, cannot be overstated. __________________________________________
‘An encyclopaedic celebration of French intellectuals refusing to give up on universal principles, while remaining slim, bringing up well-behaved children and falling in love at every opportunity’ The Times
'An engaging movement through time towards France's recent reckonings with extremism, exceptionalism and empire' TLS
Peter Watson was born in 1943 and was educated at universities in Durham, London and Rome. He has been on the staff of the Sunday Times and The Times, and has written for many other newspapers. He is the author of over a dozen books including Ideas: A History from Fire to Freud. He lives in London.
‘Majestic, ambitious . . . [Peter Watson] deserves admiration for the grace and agility with which he interlinks the development of a vigorous cultural identity and the seismic shifts of French national history, continually lurching between triumph and disaster. Impressive enough in its scope, authority and sprightliness to leave us wondering whether a French writer could have managed the task quite as deftly’
– Literary Review
‘An encyclopaedic celebration of French intellectuals refusing to give up on universal principles . . . while remaining slim, bringing up well-behaved children and falling in love at every opportunity’
– The Times
‘He unfurls his intellectual history in the form of vivid biographies . . . [an] engaging movement through time towards France’s recent reckonings with extremism, exceptionalism and empire . . . perceptive’
Get a FREE ebook by joining our mailing list today!
Get our latest book recommendations, author news, competitions, offers, and other information right to your inbox.
By clicking 'Sign me up' I confirm that I'd like to receive updates, special offers, including partner offers, and other information from Simon & Schuster Inc. and the Simon & Schuster family of companies. I understand I can change my preference through my account settings or unsubscribe directly from any marketing communications at any time. We will send you an email with instructions on how to redeem your free ebook, and associated terms.