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Van Gogh is heralded as one of the most prominent and visionary artists in history, producing many of his most famous works, including Starry Night, Irises, and Cafe Terrace at Night, in his eventual home of Provence, France. Enthusiasts and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, have taken on the task of uncovering the tumultuous life of Vincent Van Gogh, taking readers through a deeply personal world not yet discovered.
Known as one of the most luxurious spots world-wide, the French Riviera drew in a wealth of artists, authors, and film-stars, each of whom looked to the riviera for the ultimate experience in luxury and inspiration. John Baxter, a filmmaker and author, takes readers on an exciting journey through the golden age of Côte d’Azur culture.
For an in-depth, intimate--albeit idiosyncratic--look into the world of nineteenth-century French Impressionist painters, nothing is better than Zola’s tale of Claude Lanier, a fictional artist imaginatively drawn from the lives and works of Paul Cézanne, Edouard Manet, and Claude Monet. Cézanne and Zola were schoolboys in Aix-en-Provence , but their friendship did not survive the serialization (1885-1886) and subsequent book publication (1886) of Zola’s novel. Warning: the work suits an avid reader best, coming in at 464 pages in the Oxford edition.
Art critic Waldemar Januszczak presents an in-depth biography of the controversial French painter. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s life encompassed aristocracy, obsession, and alcoholic and sexual excess. He is also responsible for a huge body of work, revolutionary in blurring the boundaries between high and low art. A century after his death, Januszczak argues that the artist remains the perennial outsider, undervalued by art historians.
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Rita Crane Photography: Twilight in Old Town Menton, French Riviera, by Rita Crane
An intimate look at the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the most powerful and paramount leaders in French history. This work combines personal letters written by Napoleon himself, as well as accounts of the battle sites and significant landmarks to help further uncover unforeseen emotions and thoughts of France's supreme commander.
Among the plethora of medieval history books, nothing offers a more moving and dramatic read than A Distant Mirror. First published in 1978, Tuchman’s chronicle offers a vivid presentation of a century of conflict and change, including the Hundred Years’ War, the Black Plague, antisemitism, the Papal Schism that divided Europe into two camps—Rome or Avignon--and much more. The narrative centers around a French nobleman, Enguerrand de Coucy (1340-1397), who married the eldest daughter of Edward III of England. In 1980 the book won the U.S. National Book Award in History.
A must-read guide for any visitors to the nation. Authors Gilles Asselin and Ruth Mastron stitch together examples from historical and modern day society, weaving through the various attitudes, language, and customs of the French community.
Another guide to the French nation through a more historical lens. This account of France discusses how the country came to be, formed by events, leaders, and cultural influences which have become staples of French society.
The HBO miniseries is universally acclaimed as the best film representation of D-Day. It is based on two books by Stephen E. Ambrose: Band of Brothers (1992) and D-Day (1994), which take a personal approach to the historic event by focusing on the viewpoints of individual soldiers in World War II. Directed by David Frankel as well as by Tom Hanks, the series stars Damian Lewis (currently seen on Homeland), Ron Livingston (currently seen on Boardwalk Empire), and Donnie Wahlberg (currently seen on Blue Bloods), among others.