1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2012
Given the vast amount of source material available pertaining to French history, I am underwhelmed by Popkin's treatment of the subject. The book does provide a decent overview of the entirety of modern France, spanning from around the time of the Revolution, yet he fails to adequately highlight the profound themes inherent in French history.
Don't get me wrong, detail is appreciated when studying French history at the advanced level, yet the author's writing often focuses upon certain cases at the expense of neglecting crucial insights into profound moments in French history. These moments, such as the Dreyfus Affair or the Vichy experience, were, to my mind, glossed over in favor of more unnecessary details. Furthermore, I would have liked to see the author make use of source material, which is largely absence in quoted form throughout the body of the text.
All in all, it's an adequate treatment of French history, but you'd be better searching source material or looking elsewhere for treatments of the subject should you wish to thematically understand the important issues of French history rather than viewing it as a jumble of historical jargon compiled into a text.
4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2011
If your prof assigned this book, take it as a sign of their disdain for their students and transfer out of the class. This book is pretentious as hell. The importance of brevity, of using plain language, has not been learned by the authors. A bunch of obscure ten-cent words are thrown in the mix, forcing the reader to consult a dictionary just to understand certain passages. In addition, there are no bolded terms, no summary, and no timeline or study materials. This book has an uncanny ability to injure an unsuspecting student's GPA. It's a painfully written, poorly crafted, unfriendly snoozefest. Stay away.