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This stimulating one-volume history traces the social and economic evolution of France as a nation from the founding of the monarchy in 987, to the present day. Against a broad background of structural change, Goubert etches vivid accounts of key events and personalities. His perspective is a popular one, and his main interest is in how political events and famous people affect the nation as a whole. The book incorporates the findings and perspectives of recent monographic studies with clarity and precision, but it is Goubert's own judgements, direct, forceful and iconoclastic, which make this an invaluable text.