This book focuses on the ways in which military technology,
political and social trends, and shifting frontiers shaped the
emergence of new forms of public authority and civic life as
embodied in the "wall," an image at once intensely physical and
deeply symbolic. It traces the evolution of towns across much of
what is today France from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century
when the walls began to come down, opening up new, ultimately
revolutionary possibilities for urban life. This long-term
perspective on town fortifications--how they were built, the
contests to control them, and how they shaped the lives of people
both inside and outside them--in the end tell us much about the
making of France.
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