Providing an up-to-date synthesis of the history of an extraordinary nation--one that has been shrouded in myths, many of its own making--France and Its Empire Since 1870 seeks both to understand these myths and to uncover the complicated and often contradictory realities that underpin them. It situates modern French history in transnational and global contexts and also integrates the themes of imperialism and immigration into the traditional narrative.
Authors Alice L. Conklin, Sarah Fishman, and Robert Zaretsky begin with the premise that while France and the U.S. are sister republics, they also exhibit profound differences that are as compelling as their apparent similarities. The authors frame the book around the contested emergence of the French Republic--a form of government that finally appears to have a permanent status in France--but whose birth pangs were much more protracted than those of the American Republic. Presenting a lively and coherent narrative of the major developments in France's tumultuous history since 1870, the authors organize the chapters around the country's many turning points and confrontations. They also offer detailed analyses of politics, society, and culture, considering the diverse viewpoints of men and women from every background including the working class and the bourgeoisie, immigrants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims, Bretons and Algerians, rebellious youth, and gays and lesbians.