Cultured Force: Makers and Defenders of the French Colonial Empire

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9780299199043: Cultured Force: Makers and Defenders of the French Colonial Empire

"No course in modern French history should be without this book.... A fresh new reading to the entire enterprise of French colonial history." - Frederick Quinn, International Journal of African Historical Studies "Vividly written, [Cultured Force] challenges those determined to see nothing beneficial in European colonialism, or, more precisely in the achievements of France's preeminent military proconsuls of the past two hundred years.... The book is valuable in its attempt to reconstruct the familial backgrounds and circumstantial difficulties that so often shaped the outlook and actions of the individuals studied.... Both subtle and well informed." - Martin Thomas, Modern and Contemporary France"

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"I agree with Singer and Langdon who point out over and over again that the conquerors and the conquered shared in both the benefits and the sacrifices of imperialism. All this makes for a notable work."--William A. Hoisington, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Modern European & French Colonial History, University of Illinois at Chicago Bridging gaps between intellectual history, biography, and military/colonial history, Barnett Singer and John Langdon provide a challenging, readable interpretation of French imperialism and some of its leading figures from the early modern era through the Fifth Republic. They ask us to rethink and reevaluate, pulling away from the usual shoal of simplistic condemnation. In a series of finely-etched biographical studies, and with much detail on both imperial culture and wars (including World War I and II), they offer a balanced, deep, strong portrait of key makers and defenders of the French Empire, one that will surely stimulate much historical work in the field. ""Cultured Force" is a revisionist work, first because it takes vigorous issue with prevalent negative views of colonial activity, second because it presents most of the military figures who are the heroes of the tale as cultivated, sensitive, all-round men. And its focus on individual personalities brings the story to life, filling it with anecdotes and color. . . The result is intriguing, mostly convincing, sometimes demanding, and quite fascinating."--Eugen Weber, Professor Emeritus of Modern European History, UCLA "Scholarly and yet passionately personal--without in any way drifting from the essential bibliographic and archival moorings. . . . A splendid overall additionto the always growing literature."--John C. Cairns, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Toronto

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