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1000 Years of Annoying the French
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1000 Years of Annoying the French

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,361 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Was the Battle of Hastings a French victory?

Non! William the Conqueror was Norman and hated the French.

Were the Brits really responsible for the death of Joan of Arc?

Non! The French sentenced her to death for wearing trousers.

Was the guillotine a French invention?

Non! It was invented in Yorkshire.

Ten centuries' worth of French historical 'facts' bite the dust as Stephen Cl
Hardcover, 685 pages
Published 2010 by Bantam Press
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Community Reviews

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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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Eva Stachniak
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.
Bas Kreuger
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
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
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
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
Vicki Lesage
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
Stephen Clarke's book on the fraut relationship between the French and the Anglo Saxons is chunky and sometimes gives interesting or indecent episodes. It aspires to be both as funny as '1066 and all that' and as informative as 'How the Irish saved civilisation' It is neither.

It strains to make the boring parts of history exciting, where instead they should be omitted. It misses key episodes like the results of the fall of Louisberg, or the return of the French to France after the Dunkirk evacua
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
Kate Stedman
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. No French person is going to enjoy it true, but for anyone else it is very interesting, enlightening and so entertaining. He is a witty funny writer.
History is very interpretive and I am going to give Stephen Clarke the benefit of the doubt regarding his research and his experience having lived many years in France. I did not interpret this book as French-bashing at all. He loves the country and the people and pokes fun at them too for their nationalism and jingo
Violet Payne
I loved this book. It managed to include the main facts throughout the history of Britain and France interactions from the past 1000 years, but making incredible interesting, fast-paced and hilarious. Clarkes sharp wit and dedication to revealing the facts of histyory, and breaking the myths the French like to believe that even I never thought to question: such as Champagne and famous 'French' foods such as croissants.
Francophobia is something that I know only too well, and unfortunately this bo
Was the Battle of Hastings a French victory? William the Conqueror was Norman and hated the French. Were the Brits really responsible for the death of Joan of Arc? The French sentenced her to death for wearing trousers. Was the guillotine a French invention? This book looks at what has really been going on since 1066. Really entertaining and funny, once started it's extremely difficult to put down. Behind the sarcasm and irony, though, there is a lot of historical information packed into this bo ...more
It was an interesting read, mostly full of military history which isn't a subject I often pick up. And considering the subject, it wasn't a dry read, Clarke has a light style, with lots of wacky imaginings between long gone historical figures.
So, why only an "It was ok"?
Mostly because it was really long, again not the fault of the author, when you're reading a book whose title is "1000 years..." of course it's going to be long. But oh boy was it long! And the parts that most interest me (19th
Hilmi Isa
Jika saya adalah seorang berbangsa Perancis,besar kemungkinan saya akan membenci buku ini! Untuk menambahkan lagi kehangatan suasana,saya akan mengumpulkan beberapa orang untuk membakar buku ini! Jika buku 'Interlok' dikatakan rasis (perkauman) dan menghina,kandungan buku ini ternyata lebih 'hebat' lagi.
Buku '1000 Years of Annoying the French ini sebenarnya sebuah buku sejarah. Tetapi,ia bukanlah sebuah buku sejarah yang biasa. Buku yang membincangkan sejarah perhubungan antara England/British/U
"Historia est magistra vitae" - "Historia jest matką życia", łaciński cytat, który uzmysławia nam jak wielki wpływ na naszą kulturę, naszą historię i nasze kontakty z innymi narodami ma dotychczasowa historia. Książki historyczne to bogate skarbnice wiedzy, które swoim ogromem i zawiłością języka nieraz stanowią ciężką przeprawę dla czytelnika. Nie jest tak jednak w przypadku tej pozycji. Stephen Clarke zabiera czytającego na podróż przez czas prezentując językiem lekkim i pełnym ciętego dowcipu ...more
At 645 pages, Stephen Clarke's '1000 Years of Annoying the French', is not a short book, but then he has a lot of ground to cover: England and France have been snapping at each other's heals – if not killing each other's troops in battle – for a very long time. His book charts the ups and, more often, downs of Anglo-French relations since the Norman Conquest of 1066, with a fair amount of myth-busting and an awful lot of jokes – or, depending on your sense of humour, a lot of awful jokes.

The fir
This book is seriously 50% too big for such a light read with holes peppered all over the content.

There’s elements of contrived and forced humour upon some decent anecdotal ‘Vive la différence’, which didn’t need to be contorted, as the real stories have enough real humour in them. If he would have dug a little further to have reached Calais.

For example, the battle of Hastings; for the sheer amount of space it takes the real funnies are missing. Such as Harold’s men were getting completely plast
I loved this book.

Loved it.

So why didn't it get four stars. Simply because, as entertaining as it was (oh boy was it entertaining), as fun to read (omigosh fun), and how I wish some chapters could have been 10 times as long, with 11 times more info...

I can't give five stars to a history book without clearly outlined sources and footnotes.

Just. Can't.

First off, if you are a Francophile...DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. You will throw it across the room and then pick it up to bash it a few more times. Ju
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Inconsistency in Chapter 1? 1 27 Mar 22, 2010 01:29AM  
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“there is a French version of the story, and a true one.” 3 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” 1 likes
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