Books by Anne Blanchard

Released: Aug. 1, 2008

The devil's in the details, and this otherwise appealing gathering of 26 bad boys and girls through history is marred by misquotes, misinformation, typos and awkward wording. Though the cast includes international entries—Louis Armstrong, Albert Einstein, John Lennon—the focus is strongly French, ranging from poor students such as Charlemagne and Flaubert to the troublemaking likes of Dumas, Truffaut and 18th-century feminist Olympe de Gouges. In the refreshingly unconventional presentation many entries are written in a fictive first person, to which Bloch contributes such quirky illustrations as a portrait photo of Thomas Edison squeezed into a light bulb. Despite a healthy list of resources, this is not assignment material: There is no index, specific information often takes a back seat to colorful phrasing and both the fact-checking (no, Churchill never promised "blood, suffering, tears and sweat") and copy editing are substandard. Instead, as Pouy writes in the preface, this "raises an eyebrow at its subjects, refreshing and enlivening their great names, while inviting us to smile at the unruliness of childhood…." How Gallic. Read it for pleasure. (Collective biography. 10-14) Read full book review >