- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 5 edition (February 17, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393967050
- ISBN-13: 978-0393967050
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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France in Modern Times (Fifth Edition) 5th Edition
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About the Author
Gordon Wright is William H. Bonsall Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University. He is a past president of both the American Historical Association and the Society for French Historical Studies, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His many other books include Raymond Poincare and the French Presidency; Rurual Revolution in France; The Ordeal of Total War: 1939-1945; and Between the Guillotine and Liberty: Two Centuries of the Crime Problem in France.
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First of all it is very readable, written in a leisurely, coffee in the drawing room sort of style. As he goes along Wright reviews the views of different historians and always considers different points of view which are perhaps particularly important in this period of history, inclusive as it was of three revolutions or near things, many changes of constitution, written or unwritten and the passage from the Ancien Regime to the stability of the later republics.
It is interesting to me that whereas France struggled in these years to find a form of government it was happy with, unlike England, it produced in the last three hundred years a string of original thinkers who are the envy of the world. The French Revolution was a game played to the hilt and the Ancien Regime itself was in a way the same thing, an all or nothing affair. French culture adopts the same style. Wright has chapters on politics, social matters, foreign policy and culture. The book is a pleasure to read.
As for the question as to whether this book discusses the demographic shifts in France in the late 20th century, it does not. This is the 1995 revision of a book that was conceived in the late 1960s by a European history professor at Stanford. It is really a survey of 1789 to 1980 without much discussion of the growing Islamic population in France.