Professor Robert Tombs
Robert Tombs is a French historian, who specializes in the nineteenth century. His first work was on the civil war of the Paris Commune in 1871, and he was the first person to try to explain why it resulted in such a high level of violence. His book, The War against Paris (also published in French), based on previously unread military records, showed that the army and its commanders had deliberately carried out an organized purge of partly imaginary `enemies'. Since then he has published books and articles on French political culture and nationalism, including France 1814-1914 (1996) and The Paris Commune 1871 (1999).
His most recent book, entitled That Sweet Enemy: The French and the British from the Sun King to the Present (2006), is the first large-scale study of the relationship between the French and the British over the last three centuries, and was jocularly described in The Independent as ‘the War and Peace of Franco-British relations’. It discusses cultural and social influences - in ideas, art, fashion, sport and food - as well as politics and wars. He teaches modern European history for the college, and supervises graduate students on a range of French and Franco-British topics.