This is another Lecturable book for Kindle that I had bought (for $2) before actually starting A History of the Babylonians and Assyrians, and finding out how abysmal the editing was on that volume. Thankfully, it is much better here. There’s still lots of OCR-derived problems, but not nearly as frequently. If most of their books are of this quality, I’d say they’re generally worth what I paid for this one, though no more.

This was intended as a guide to French history for American servicemen going over to France in WWI. However, the book was not actually completed until 1919, making it too late for that purpose. In general, it is a good survey of French history, though as it gets closer to the current (1919) day, it suffers from more and more bias, culminating with an entirely off-balance view of WWI (which given the original intended audience, is somewhat understandable…).

This is quite at odds with the generally even-handed tone of earlier parts of the book. Davis is not a Francophile it would seem, but a raving Third Republic-phile. Indeed, the creation of the Third Republic is the trigger that brings about this shift in tone, as can be seen the following quote: “The ‘Military Law of 1872’ was the foundation for that magnificent fighting engine which, under Joffre, Pétain, and Foch, was to stand between world-civilization and barbarism on so many desperate occasions from 1914 to 1918.”

It is a shame that the book becomes victimized by rhetoric for the last chapters, for it actually succeeds at its primary job until that point.