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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,413 Ratings  ·  255 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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Jun 02, 2010 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 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 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 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.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Eva Stachniak
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it liked it
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
Sara Uckelman
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Last year I asked my f-list to recommend to me their favorite "new" book that they had read in the past year (by "new" I mean "new to them"). I don't remember who recommended me this one, but I'd thank them if I did!

This was a humorous and yet seriously edifying romp through Anglo-Gallic relations from the time of the conquest until a few years ago. Much of the early stuff I already knew (perils of being a medievalist), but the 17th C chapters and later I found remarkably educational, in part be
Mar 05, 2016 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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it liked it
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
Feb 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Vicki Lesage
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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.
Pieter Baert
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Bhuvaneswari Veerasamy
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved it.. History plus humor comments on the accuracy, but a very interesting read ..I particularly liked the way even gruesome violence of the past is described lightheartedly, without taking away the gravity of the situation.
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 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 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant! Funny and informative AND he covered the Rainbow Warrior!
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Inconsistency in Chapter 1? 1 33 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.” 9 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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