FRANCE AND THE FRENCH by Harvey Edwards

FRANCE AND THE FRENCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An informal introduction along the lines of Claire Bishop's Here is France (1969) mixing acute observations, a quick review of historical highlights and a modicum of trivia (as per the observation that ""After the birth of a child, women try to regain their figure as quickly as possible"" and the too, too many pages devoted to getting across the idea that the French love good food). The peculiarly French blend of conservatism and individualism, mistrust of authority and hero worship, debrouillard and malin is stressed again and again -- underlying the characteristic family business which has slowed France's pace in the race for industrialization, the rigid educational system (its class bias named as a leading cause of the '68 student uprising) and the phenomenon of De Gaulle (""Marvelous, inspiring and insupportable""). Balancing the generalizations on the French national character are introductions to a number of individual workers -- innovative farmer Guy Estanove, sculptor Francois Bouche, businessman Dominique Tulasne -- men whose problems both enlarge our understanding of the society as a whole and demonstrate its diversity. Despite inadequate coverage of the state of arts and literature, the narrative is respectably informative and more entertaining than most.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1972
Publisher: Nelson