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1000 Years of Annoying the French

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  2,241 Ratings  ·  239 Reviews
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 Clar
ebook, 688 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Open Road Media (first published 2010)
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I am divided on this book. On one hand it’s an encompassing history lesson covering 1,000 years. A millennium which shows that no matter the country, history is mostly about greed and back stabbing, which translates into political/economical alliances or in medieval times, marrying into another kingdom to increase one’s land and domination. Meanwhile, in the background, the people can starve.

On the other hand, I am French, and I have discovered at my expense that this book does exactly what it s
Aug 02, 2011 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Canada of course is a bilingual country. Except of course in Quebec where they refuse to speak English. If you speak to anyone in Quebec in English they will ignore you. Luckily I have a French Canadian husband so he can do my speaking for me as I tend to freeze up when spoken to in French. He also comes in very handy in Paris where they tend to also ignore English if they feel like it - they usually do. Would I want him to read this book. Probably not!

In Western Canada where I grew up we learne
M.G. Mason
Aug 09, 2011 M.G. Mason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As tongue in cheek as the title sounds, this is an informative history book that charts 1000 years of Anglo-French mutual adoration loathing. Stephen Clarke leaves no stone unturned as he charts events surrounding the momentous events from history involving the two countries.

The text is as tongue in cheek as you would expect and there are giggles aplenty. The first big laugh I had was when Clarke described William II (informally known as Rufus) of England as "a medieval Paris Hilton" for his ind
Khairul H.
Mar 23, 2011 Khairul H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
You don’t have to be a Brit or an Anglophile or even a Francophobe to appreciate this book but it helps. Stephen Clarke takes a potted look at 1000 years of Anglo-French relations from the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 to President Sarkozy’s visit in 2008 and reveals that all of France’s failures in those thousand years were due to the machinations of the Brits and France’s successes (few and far between, according to Clarke) were actually achieved by someone else who was distinctly not Fre ...more
Mar 07, 2013 Deanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Fun read, full of trivia and some not so trivial bits of information. There are two sides to any arguement, and we've been argueing for about a 1000 years.
Deals with some areas of history which I enjoy reading about, and some areas that I'm not familliar with. Have to look out for more books by Clarke.
Jan 03, 2013 Max rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a (Dutch) History student I fairly enjoyed this book. Taking a piss out of the French somehow gave such satisfaction, that at times I got uneasy with my own Francophobic feelings. Images of dramatic encounters with les Français flashed before my eyes, until it got me to the point that I could identify the main cause: a traumatic experience from my childhood in which an extremely fat monsieur shouted at me for not having a ticket for the carousel. Matter of fact, I already gave it to his compa ...more
Dr. Tim
This is not just a book filled with subtle humour and facts galore, it is a veritable history lesson. Despite the title, it is not an anti-French manifesto, far from it. As well as plenty of passage highlighting reasons to love the French, it reminds us of the many things the world has to thank France for. That said, it also takes time to debunk some myths that the French love to trot out. The fact that le croissant was a Belgian invention is particularly irksome to my French friends.

As well al
Mar 11, 2013 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very long book, nearly 700 pages, as might be expected from a book that covers a millenium's worth of Anglo-French relations in great detail. The author is British but has lived on both sides of the channel, and he lobs potshots in each direction. I learned a surprising number of things, such as:

1. Many things traditionally thought of as French, such as the guillotine, champagne and William of Normandy, were not French.
2. During World War II, the British hated their French allies almos
Eva Stachniak
Nov 19, 2011 Eva Stachniak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was entirely charmed by Stephen Clarke's account of French English relations. I read historical books compulsively, for my own writing and for pleasure. A writer who manages to add to my sense of history, give me new angles, new details to consider is a rare find. Clarke likes the odd detail, teh forgotten twist in old stories. He entertains and he teaches...and straightens up a few myths in between.
I enjoyed this very much. If we could give .5 awards, I'd have given it a 3.5. It's definitely history-light, but Clarke has a nice way with tale-telling and makes the history interesting and accessible. The book covers the disputes and arguments between les Anglais and the French, from William the Conqueror to present day. I enjoyed the humour and also the facts. Easy to read and it flowed very nicely and it taught me something. All good.
Apr 01, 2012 Lynne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a slog to get through this! I already knew a lot of the general history. The 'corrections' to the French interpretation of events were often amusing and enlightening, but I began to wonder how biased the 'factual' corrections were. The joke were a bit intrusive and irritating at times.I found the last few chapters about the 20th century the most interesting. Overall, I'm glad I read it, but wish I had dipped in rather than reading all the way through.
Rafal Jasinski
O, delikatnie rzecz ujmując, skomplikowanych stosunkach pomiędzy dwoma wielkimi narodami, z humorem (często wyjątkowo czarnym!), swadą i skrupulatnością. Stephen Clarke zabiera czytelnika w trwającą tysiąc lat podróż, w sposób niezwykle malowniczy dowodząc, iż małostkowość, krótkowzroczność, zazdrość i zwykła złośliwość, cechująca zarówno "wybitne" jednostki, jak i całe masy ludzkie zamieszkujące tereny obu państw - tak, moim zdaniem zarówno Anglii, jak i Francji obrywa się tutaj po równo - prow ...more
Pieter Baert
Sep 20, 2016 Pieter Baert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written from a British perspective on the French. Often very cliché but nothing that anybody who deals with the French regularly can't recognise (though I'd be afraid if anything like this would come up about Belgium).

Nice anekdotes and very informative nonetheless. I truly enjoyed reading it.
Mar 05, 2016 Cătălin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A 'deliciously' entertaining read from start to finish - probably the most entertaining history book I've ever read (and I do enjoy a bit of history). Having read Stephen Clarke's 'A Year In The Merde' before this, my experience of reading this one was a quite welcome and pleasant subversion of my expectations - and I do have a penchant for the latter as well.

The book itself starts off in a seemingly patriotic tone, but as you carry on reading, laughing hysterically as you go along, Clarke's fon
Jan 14, 2013 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I love this book! This is how history should be passed on - the book is full of fascinating historical facts all built round the "special" relationship we have with our neighbours across the channel. It documents the often fractious history between France and England, throwing up a lot of information about the ripple effect this relationship has had on world events. The section on early American history is particularly fascinating.
For all the verbal attacks on the French and their history, autho
Bas Kreuger
Feb 10, 2012 Bas Kreuger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is history funny? Sure! Written by the English, that is. I can't imagine a historybook written by a Dutch scholar (other than Maarten van Rossum) and surely a French historian being funny ;-)
But Clarcke is and more so because he is (as far as I can ascertain) serious in his research and the stories he writes. I am sure he picked his examples well so the picture that he paints puts the French in the silly seat, but it is convincing though.
The French invading Britain in 1066? No! William the Conqu
Mar 26, 2012 Conrad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a very funny english humor book because of the way the author made fun of the french and made the book full of facts and funny stories keeping you deeply involved. The book was full of interesting facts and details on what had happened with the fighting not just the french and english but everywhere. It was cool because of how the fighting had changed and it isn't what you would think today as in foods and sport. The author described the events clearly with humor and detail. It was ...more
Mar 18, 2010 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, historical
At first this is a really funny book as Clarke goes through the main historical events that Britain (well more England than anything) and France share and how some of the French interpretations are not necessarily accurate. But after a few chapters it begins to get a bit tiresome and losses its amusing edge, even becoming mildly annoying by the end. This is a good comprehensive history of the two nations and does throw up a few events and people that were otherwise hidden from the history books ...more
Vicki Lesage
Apr 16, 2014 Vicki Lesage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From my travels around France and from having lived in Paris for 9 years, I've always been interested in the British vs. French rivalry, but I could never bring myself to read about it because everything seemed so boring. Until now! Even at nearly 700 pages I found this book fascinating and funny, and a great way to learn about this aspect of European history. Life's too short to read stuff you don't enjoy, so if you want a fun way to learn about the history between France and England (and impre ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I'd written this book! But I've read it & I've got the t-shirt! Marvellously sharp observations on our tortured 'amour' with our oldest & staunchest enemies over 1000 years,& 650-odd pages! Vive la difference! Cherchez la femme! La plume de ma tante! God,I hate the French! They are so smug! Even the divine Deneuve's father was a collaborator! And don't get me started on Charles De Gaulle! Merde!!!
Aug 12, 2013 Maitrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, humour
Refreshing take on a 1000 years of Anglo-French history, Stephen Clarke writes in a measured, witty and a very jocular style.

The book is not at all Francophobic, and Clarke inserts plenty of little known facts, anecdotes and put-downs to cut both the snooty française and Brits down to size. You'll never get bored reading this book.

Recommended to anybody with an interest in history.
Jun 14, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took me a few days to read, but was filled with interesting history about the feuds between the French and the Brits. Not being either myself, it was enlightening to learn a little more about where the disputes come from, and what shape they take.
Stuart Carruthers
A wonderful abbreviated history of Englands relationship with France and how the two countries are forever intertwined. Both amusing and factual it's full of great stories about the famous and not so famous characters of history.
Feb 27, 2015 beentsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-done
When I started reading this I wasn't sure I could handle that many years, and pages, of history written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I was wrong. Turns out it was the porridge that Goldilocks ate for telling this very long and very acrimonious relationship story.
Jul 15, 2011 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, france
The author at times tries to hard to be funny... and spoils the rather interesting contents at time. But an okay read in general. Cerantly not excellent.
Jan 26, 2015 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant! Funny and informative AND he covered the Rainbow Warrior!
Jan 21, 2017 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
This was impressive. He managed to cover 1000 years of history without getting too bogged down by the shear weight of it. And it was written in a very accessible way. Love that tongue-in-cheek.

I can't imagine any Frenchman would be delighted by the content, but the Brits, and frankly the Americans, don't come off looking too great either. It does a great job of setting the scene for today's politics.

And it's certainly much more accurate than most tongue-in-cheek histories. Definitely worth a r
Nov 30, 2016 Doc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, history, humor, ebook
An irreverent, somewhat cheeky history of the tumultuous relationship twixt England and France.
This book is chock-full of the sort of interesting things you are unlikely to see in other, more arid, weighty tomes, especially if the writer of those tomes is French.
I used my Kindle to highlight many a tidbit.
A good, informative read.
Unsurprisingly, a very biased history of the relationship between France and England for the past 1000 years.

Light and fluffy, but the history seems more or less sound, if rather biased.
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Inconsistency in Chapter 1? 1 32 Mar 22, 2010 01:29AM  
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Stephen Clarke is the bestselling author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction that satirize the peculiarities of French culture. In 2004, he self-published A Year in the Merde, a comic novel skewering contemporary French society. The novel was an instant success and has led to numerous follow-ups, including Dial M for Merde (2008), 1,000 Years of Annoying the French (2010), and Paris Revealed ...more
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“there is a French version of the story, and a true one.” 8 likes
“When a Quebecker is interviewed for French TV, he or she is often subtitled in ‘normal’ French, as if the language they speak in francophone Canada is so barbarous that Parisians won’t be able to understand” 2 likes
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