The French and Brits aren’t eternal enemies but, according to the author Stephen Clarke, we can’t ignore our pasts… His book 1000 Years of Annoying the French (Bantam) dismantles a few myths that historians have been trying to pass off as truths over the last centuries. They boast, for example, that the last time Britain was invaded it was by Frenchmen – the Normands. But in fact, William the Conqueror was an avowed enemy of France and regularly attacked the French King. France also blames the treacherous Brits for killing Joan of Arc, but she was burnt after being captured by French soldiers and tried as a witch by Parisian monks. The craziest claim of all, though, has to be the accusation that the Brits killed Napoleon by poisoning his wallpaper!
1000 Years of Annoying the French is a very entertaining travel through time, filled with stories of distrust, violence and betrayal. Now available in paperback, The 514-pages book, is addressing French misconceptions about themselves in a ridiculous way while at the same time showing up all the misconceptions the English hold about themselves. Anyone interested in this longstanding love-hate relationship will love it. Despite what the English and French may say about one another in public, writes Stephen Clarke, the truth is that ‘we find each other irredeemably sexy’… But will Sarkozy ever be forgiven for not inviting the Queen to the celebration of 65 years of D-Day ?