Laurent Dubois, “Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France” (University of California Press, 2011)
There are few moments in recent sports history as riveting, perplexing, and widely debated as Zinedine Zidane’s head-butt to Marco Materazzi in the final match of the 2006 World Cup. Think of your own reaction when the referee stopped play… Read More
Paul Friedland, “Seeing Justice Done: The Age of Spectacular Capital Punishment In France” (Oxford University Press, 2012)
It seems safe to say that the guillotine occupies a macabre place in the popular imagination among the icons of France’s transition to modernity–perhaps stashed somewhere in between idealized barricades or lurking on one chronological flank of the Eiffel Tower.… Read More
Nancy Hargrove, “T.S. Eliot’s Parisian Year” (University of Florida Press, 2010)
When it comes to writers and artists, biography plays a provocative role–yielding insight into both artistic influences and origins. This is especially true with the modernists, in particular T.S. Eliot. After graduating from Harvard University in 1910, the young Eliot… Read More
Carolina Armenteros, “The French Idea of History: Joseph de Maistre and his Heirs, 1794-1854” (Cornell UP, 2011)
When I was an undergraduate, I took a class called “The Enlightenment” in which we read all the thinkers of, well, “The Enlightenment.” I came to understand that they were the “good guys” of Western history, at least for most… Read More
Carolyn Burke, “No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf” (Knopf, 2011)
Edith Piaf’s story is rife with drama. The daughter of an acrobat and a singer, she was the first French superstar and sang with wild abandon in a voice that rivaled Judy Garland’s. And yet, so often Piaf’s high-spirits are… Read More
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