That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present by Robert Tombs
Reviewed by Benjamin Schwarz
The Atlantic Monthly
"Sometime intimate foes, sometime bitter allies, France and Britain have for centuries largely defined themselves in relation to each other. This remarkably inventive, stylish, and audacious work traces the history of that infernal couple, from the seventeenth century to the present. Probing national culture and sensibility as well as war, diplomacy, and finance, the authors (husband and wife ? he's a Cambridge don who has written a pathbreaking study of the Paris Commune; she's a French-born historian of Britain who works at the Foreign Office) assay the entire 300-plus years in their nearly 800-page history, but they focus on what scholars call the 'Second Hundred Years' War': the period of intermittent conflict between 1689 and 1815, which started when William III summoned a 'Grand Alliance' to thwart the Sun King's bid for European mastery and ended with Wellington's defeat of Napoleon, a defeat that permanently blunted and diverted France's power and international ambitions...." Read the entire Atlantic Monthly review.