That Sweet Enemy brings both British wit (Robert Tombs is a British historian) and Gallic panache (Isabelle Tombs is a French historian) to bear on three centuries of the history of Britain and France. The authors take us from Waterloo to Chiracâs slandering of British cooking, charting the cross-channel entanglement and its unparalleled breadth of cultural, economic and political influence. They illuminate the complexity of the relationshipârivalry, enmity, misapprehension and loathing mixed with envy, admiration and genuine affectionâand the ways in which it has shaped the modern world, from North America to the Middle East to Southeast Asia, and is still shaping Europe today. They make clear that warfare between the two countries often went hand in hand with hardy, if hidden, strains of anglophilia and francophilia; conversely, though France and Britain were allies for much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it has been an alliance almost as uneasy, as competitive and as ambivalent as the previous generations of warfare.
Wonderfully writtenâacute, witty, consistently surprisingâThat Sweet Enemy is a triumph: an eye-opener for the experts, and a feast for the general reader.
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