I’m not sure what to make of this book. It is well written and laugh-out-loud funny in parts, but it is also far too long. Basically, it has one running joke, which is that many of the things which are viewed as quintessentially French are not quite as Gallic as we might think; for example the guillotine was actually invented in Yorkshire. For the first hundred or so pages this is quite funny, but it is hard to sustain this one line for five times that length. Actually, when you get beyond the jokes, it isn’t a bad introduction to aspects of West European history. The humour makes it relatively easy to take in what tends to be a rather dry subject.
Much though I’d like you to buy books I mention here and make a contribution to our Amazon associates account, I find it hard to suggest that you splash out hard cash on this one. Borrow it from your library or do as I did and get it from a friend.
If you want a feel of the book, this footnote is pretty much par for the course:
‘My Way’… is an English-language adaption of the French song “Comme d’habitude” (As usual) by Claude Francois. If you listen carefully to the English version, you can hear that it’s a French song – the melody is basically a variation on a single theme and the rhythm is totally undanceable.