A History of Modern France  book cover
5th Edition

A History of Modern France

ISBN 9781138557192
Published February 26, 2020 by Routledge
414 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A History of Modern France offers a framework to understand modern French history through a survey of the dramatic events that have punctuated its history from the eighteenth century to the present day.

Covering events such as the French Revolution, the two World Wars and the more recent election of Emmanuel Macron and the "yellow vest" movement, the book takes a balanced approach to the competing interpretations of modern France inspired by its history. This edition has been thoroughly updated to incorporate the most recent scholarship on topics including French imperial history and the empire’s postcolonial legacy, the history of women and gender, and the French experience of World War I. A new section extends the narrative into mid-2019, and additional emphasis has been given to the role of historical memory in the making of French identity. Taking a chronological approach, the book is approachable for students and provides a clear and understandable picture of the history of modern France.

Supported by further reading that has been updated to include the most recent publications, the book is the ideal introduction to the history of modern France for students of this fascinating country.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Maps



1 "The Oldest Nation of Europe"

2 Eighteenth-Century French Society and Economy

3 Culture and Thought in Eighteenth-Century France

4 Government under Challenge

5 Collapse of the Old Monarchy

6 Successes and Failures of the Liberal Revolution

7 The Radical Revolution

8 The Return to Order

9 The Napoleonic Years

10 The Restoration

11 The July Monarchy and Its Critics

12 A New Social World

13 The Revolution of 1848: The Crisis of Bourgeois Society

14 The Second Empire’s Decade of Prosperity

15 The Second Empire in Difficulties

16 The Paris Commune and the Origins of the Third Republic 

17 The Republicans in Power

18 Economic Depression and Political Crises

19 The Dreyfus Affair and the Bloc Républican

20 Culture and Society at the Fin De Siècle

21 The Belle Époque

22 The Plunge into War

23 Crisis, Victory, and Disillusionment

24 France between the Wars

25 The Illusion of Normality

26 From the Popular Front to the War

27 France in the Second World War

28 The Road to Liberation

29 The Revival of the Parliamentary Republic

30 From the Fourth to the Fifth Republic

31 Politics and Economy in De Gaulle’s Republic

32 Society and Culture during the "Thirty Glorious Years"

33 May 1968 and the End of the Gaullist Era

34 The Mitterrand Years

35 France Enters a New Millennium

36 A New Age of Instability

Appendix: For Further Reading


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Jeremy D. Popkin is the William T. Bryan Chair of History at the University of Kentucky (Lexington, Kentucky, USA). In addition to his new comprehensive history, A New World Begins: The Story of the French Revolution, he has published Revolutionary News: The Press in France, 1789–1799; You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery; and A Short History of the French Revolution.