How the French Won Waterloo - or Think They Did

Random House
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Published in the 200th Anniversary year of the Battle of Waterloo a witty look at how the French still think they won, by Stephen Clarke, author of 1000 Years of Annoying the French and A Year in the Merde.

Two centuries after the Battle of Waterloo, the French are still in denial.

If Napoleon lost on 18 June 1815 (and that's a big 'if'), then whoever rules the universe got it wrong. As soon as the cannons stopped firing, French historians began re-writing history. The Duke of Wellington was beaten, they say, and then the Prussians jumped into the boxing ring, breaking all the rules of battle. In essence, the French cannot bear the idea that Napoleon, their greatest-ever national hero, was in any way a loser. Especially not against the traditional enemy – les Anglais.

Stephen Clarke has studied the French version of Waterloo, as told by battle veterans, novelists, historians – right up to today's politicians, and he has uncovered a story of pain, patriotism and sheer perversion ...

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More by Stephen Clarke

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The author of A Year in the Merde and Talk to the Snail offers a highly biased and hilarious view of French history in this international bestseller.
 
Things have been just a little awkward between Britain and France ever since the Norman invasion in 1066. Fortunately—after years of humorously chronicling the vast cultural gap between the two countries—author Stephen Clarke is perfectly positioned to investigate the historical origins of their occasionally hostile and perpetually entertaining pas de deux.
 
Clarke sets the record straight, documenting how French braggarts and cheats have stolen credit rightfully due their neighbors across the Channel while blaming their own numerous gaffes and failures on those same innocent Brits for the past thousand years. Deeply researched and written with the same sly wit that made A Year in the Merde a comic hit, this lighthearted trip through the past millennium debunks the notion that the Battle of Hastings was a French victory (William the Conqueror was really a Norman who hated the French) and pooh-poohs French outrage over Britain’s murder of Joan of Arc (it was the French who executed her for wearing trousers). He also takes the air out of overblown Gallic claims, challenging the provenance of everything from champagne to the guillotine to prove that the French would be nowhere without British ingenuity.
 
Brits and Anglophiles of every national origin will devour Clarke’s decidedly biased accounts of British triumph and French ignominy. But 1000 Years of Annoying the French will also draw chuckles from good-humored Francophiles as well as “anyone who’s ever encountered a snooty Parisian waiter or found themselves driving on the Boulevard Périphérique during August” (The Daily Mail). A bestseller in Britain, this is an entertaining look at history that fans of Sarah Vowell are sure to enjoy, from the author the San Francisco Chronicle has called “the anti-Mayle . . . acerbic, insulting, un-PC, and mostly hilarious.”
A Year in the Merde is the almost-true account of the author's
adventures as an expat in Paris. Based on his own experiences and with
names changed to "avoid embarrassment, possible legal action-and to
prevent the author's legs being broken by someone in a Yves Saint
Laurent suit", the book is narrated by Paul West, a
twenty-seven-year-old Brit who is brought to Paris by a French company
to open a chain of British "tea rooms." He must manage of a group of
lazy, grumbling French employees, maneuver around a treacherous Parisian
boss, while lucking into a succession of lusty girlfriends (one of whom
happens to be the boss's morally challenged daughter). He soon becomes
immersed in the contradictions of French culture: the French are not all
cheese-eating surrender monkeys, though they do eat a lot of smelly
cheese, and they are still in shock at being stupid enough to sell
Louisiana, thus losing the chance to make French the global language.
The book will also tell you how to get the best out of the grumpiest
Parisian waiter, how to survive a French business meeting, and how not
to buy a house in the French countryside.

The author originally
wrote A Year in the Merde just for fun and self-published it in France
in an English-language edition. Weeks later, it had become a
word-of-mouth hit for expats and the French alike. With translation
rights now sold in eleven countries and already a bestseller in the UK
and France, Stephen Clarke is clearly a Bill Bryson (or a Peter
Mayle...) for a whole new generation of readers who can never quite
decide whether they love-or love to hate-the French.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Jun 4, 2015
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781473506367
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / General
History / Europe / Western
History / Military / General
History / Military / Napoleonic Wars
History / Modern / 19th Century
History / Modern / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The author of A Year in the Merde and Talk to the Snail offers a highly biased and hilarious view of French history in this international bestseller.
 
Things have been just a little awkward between Britain and France ever since the Norman invasion in 1066. Fortunately—after years of humorously chronicling the vast cultural gap between the two countries—author Stephen Clarke is perfectly positioned to investigate the historical origins of their occasionally hostile and perpetually entertaining pas de deux.
 
Clarke sets the record straight, documenting how French braggarts and cheats have stolen credit rightfully due their neighbors across the Channel while blaming their own numerous gaffes and failures on those same innocent Brits for the past thousand years. Deeply researched and written with the same sly wit that made A Year in the Merde a comic hit, this lighthearted trip through the past millennium debunks the notion that the Battle of Hastings was a French victory (William the Conqueror was really a Norman who hated the French) and pooh-poohs French outrage over Britain’s murder of Joan of Arc (it was the French who executed her for wearing trousers). He also takes the air out of overblown Gallic claims, challenging the provenance of everything from champagne to the guillotine to prove that the French would be nowhere without British ingenuity.
 
Brits and Anglophiles of every national origin will devour Clarke’s decidedly biased accounts of British triumph and French ignominy. But 1000 Years of Annoying the French will also draw chuckles from good-humored Francophiles as well as “anyone who’s ever encountered a snooty Parisian waiter or found themselves driving on the Boulevard Périphérique during August” (The Daily Mail). A bestseller in Britain, this is an entertaining look at history that fans of Sarah Vowell are sure to enjoy, from the author the San Francisco Chronicle has called “the anti-Mayle . . . acerbic, insulting, un-PC, and mostly hilarious.”
Barbara W. Tuchman—the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August—once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.
 
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Barbara W. Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight—in all his valor and “furious follies,” a “terrible worm in an iron cocoon.”
 
Praise for A Distant Mirror
 
“Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better.”—The New York Review of Books
 
“A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition.”—Commentary

NOTE: This edition does not include color images.
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