They Taught Me the History of France Publication date : February 22, 2017
Jean-Pierre Rioux is a well-known historian, specialized in contemporary France’s political and cultural history. He has taught, first at high school level, and then at university level (Paris-X-Nanterre), been a research director at the CNRS (National Research Centre – Institute of the History of the Present) and a General Inspector for National Education. A man of many journals (Vingtième Siècle, L’Histoire), he has presided the advisory board of the Maison de l’histoire de France (House of French History). He is the author of numerous books, including Au bonheur la France (“Randomly Happy France”, Perrin), La France perd la memoire (“France Is Losing Its Memory”, Perrin, “Tempus”), Jean Jaurès (Perrin, “Tempus”) and La mort du lieutenant Peguy (“The Death of Lieutenant Peguy”, Tallandier). He lives in Paris.
“This book assembles musings and wandering over paths less travelled through this country’s contemporary history; a re-collection of essays and selected pieces for “day-to-day reading”, as they used to say in school, that try to bring the man, the oeuvre, the works and the days all together. It leans doubtlessly towards ego-history. But it is first and foremost a tribute to all those – historians or not, near or far – who awakened my taste for French history.” J.P Rioux
This book is shot through with a passion for French history. Jean-Pierre Rioux describes his path from his native, rural Corrèze region – including the books he read there, from Erckman-Chatrian to Michelet, to Paris, with its migrants and its streetwise kids who still had their own colourful tongue, and later, still in Paris, May ’68, the Algerian War, and the adventure of a “new left” with a Christian tint.
A tale of learning, a personal and intellectual itinerary, this book looks back over and sheds light on the path of a man who has always felt strongly about transmitting knowledge.