Richard Cobb (1917-1996) fell in love with France when he first visited in 1935. He went on to write many works of history—some in French, some in English—about the French Revolution and occupied France.


Gloom Over Gaul

The French

by Theodore Zeldin
Theodore Zeldin is described on the back of the present book as “the world’s foremost authority on Frenchness” (Time magazine). This may well be so. But in the present context, it is an odd comment, for the author spends over five hundred pages arguing that there is no such thing …

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Ladies of the Leisure Class: The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the Nineteenth Century

by Bonnie G. Smith
“Madame va descendre à l’instant: elle vous prie de l’attendre,” said the neat servant, in her immaculate black and white uniform, as she showed me into the salon of the enormous red-brick house. It was a familiar opening, almost a ritual; and I knew, from previous experience, that “à l’instant” …

The Great Bourgeois Bargain

The Bon Marché: Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store, 1869-1920

by Michael B. Miller
One should not be put off this fascinating book on the Bon Marché department store in Paris by the litanic style of the introduction, which hammers home again and again the distinction between gemeinschaftlich and gesellschaftlich (I have not the faintest idea what these cumbersome teutonic adjectives mean, nor do …

The Assassination of Paris

Paris: A Century of Change, 1878-1978

by Norma Evenson
Architects, town planners, and specialists in traffic circulation are much more dangerous than sociologists, who, so often, have merely served to complicate what might have seemed self-evident and simple to the historian. The errors, assumptions, and miscalculations of the former are both durable and visible: solid contributions to human misery, …