About France

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iUniverse, May 20, 2005 - Social Science - 306 pages
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I myself have found France alternately fascinating, endearing, pleasurable, and maddening for the many years that I have been here. Being a Paris-based journalist gave me a privileged observation post, the opportunity to travel widely, to get to know the cities and towns, and to meet and exchange ideas with a great range of French citizens of all socio-economic circles, many of whom have become my friends.

If I had to sum up the basic attitude that runs through the French mentality at all levels, it would be a composite of preening pride, often frankly chauvinistic, in being French, and barely concealed dislike, bordering on fear and loathing, of change. As a people they advance reluctantly toward the future, eyes fixed firmly on the past, especially the glorious 17th century of Louis XIV. Noting what he calls his country's inherent schizophrenia, Denis Jeambar, editor-in-chief of the news magazine L'Express, has written that France "oscillates continuously between pride and resignation, movement and immobility. More than any other European nation, it is characterized by contradictory attributes."

-from the Prologue to About France

 

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Contents

PROLOGUE
1
The Immortal Members
10
Solving the Mystery of SaintExupéry
23
Quel est Votre Signe?
31
Ferment in French Philosophy
37
The Masterful Medieval Brotherhood of the Compagnons
43
France Raises The Tallest Tower
56
A Plane for Prestige
66
The Outrageous Crazy Horse Saloon
131
The Great French Passion
146
Testing the Myth of the Resistance
152
Where are the Stones of Yesteryear?
168
Kerry Loses Bonjour Tristesse
176
Napoléon Sells Louisiana for a Song
186
On Familiar Terms with the Deity
200
Infiltrating the Masses for God
208

Todays French Foreign Legion
72
The Divine Sarah
87
The Brilliant Soul of France
100
Oysters for Openers
110
Taking Mustard Seriously
116
Vacations with a Vengeance
124
The Prolific Prodigious Georges Simenon
224
New Yorker in Paris
233
The Free Spirit of Marc Chagall
240
in the South of France
249
SOURCES
285
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