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Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French

by Jean-benoit Nadeau, Julie Barlow

Buy the book: Jean-benoit Nadeau. Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French

Release Date: May, 2003

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Jean-benoit Nadeau. Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French

Journalism that reads like fiction

This is a rare breed in the world of nonfiction: a factual book you'll actually read through to the end.
In a lively style punctuated with anecdote, authors Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau trace how the society and politics of France have evolved over the centuries. The result? We start to understand there is a distinct French character and that the current showdown between France and the English-speaking world is not resistance for its own sake, but the result of the real, historic differences that exist.
This book is for anyone who has ever lived in France, visited or tried to do business with the French. It will illuminate some of the mysteries and answer questions you didn't know to ask.


what does wrong mean?

This is an excellent book overall for the many reasons other reviewers have already covered. However, I'd like to pick a bit at the conclusions, starting with the title.

Read the book, then ask yourself what you personally actually want, and consider important. What are yuor values? Do you really want the French package? Bits of obviously, but not more. I'm a mixed-race European, I have a vacation apartment in France, speak the language well and enjoy the country very much, but I don't feel that I want what they want or have, and certainly wouldn't want to be what they are. Indeed, I heartily despise many of their values - reviewer J. Janus, ask yourself why the French helped the Americans in the war of independence? It might have been republican cameraderie, but wouldn't the chance to have a swipe at a long-term rival / enemy be more in keeping? Especially as you are bang on about their supporting their uncompetitive industries by selling high tech at high prices to despotic regimes which more humane (civilised?) countries refuse to supply. I also despise their obsessive hero-worship, weird nationalist inferiority/superiority complexes, etc.

Reading this book reminded me of the many reasons that I love and hate the French. As well as all the things I don't like, certainly I'm jealous of their fantastic country; one of the reasons their inefficient system survives is their effortless and abundant agriculture, tourism, etc - and in a way I secretly admire their balls at simply taking the idiot Germans/EU for a ride in terms of subsidising French delusions of economic and political grandeur. They can be extremely charming and have a marvellous sense of style: I think this comes in part from the one thing that makes them so maddeningly difficult to pigeon-hole; they are the only country that mixes being both northern and southern. (Culturally, I do not consider Italy a single country, it is northern in the north and southern in the south, not mixed.)

Enjoy the book, but form your own conclusions!


Nizhniy Novgorod

© FAB Russia, 2003-2005

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