Entertaining mini-essays that debunk common idealized conceptions of the French.

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THEY EAT HORSES, DON'T THEY?

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FRENCH

In this debut, Eatwell pulls back the veil on France and French culture, exposing the truth behind 45 myths that have swirled around the French for ages.

Through research and interviews with countless English and French people, the author begins by examining the eating, drinking and bathing habits of the French. She intertwines historical facts with present-day evaluations, providing readers with in-depth analyses on a wide array of topics, including the eating of horse meat in France, the numerous types of cheese available and the subcultures that surround them, and the drinking habits of the old and young. She examines French toilets and plumbing, which body parts French women shave, if any, and the use of the bidet, which turned into a common feature in whorehouses; it was “the indispensable tool of the trade for the world’s oldest profession, a receptacle for ablutions, a cleansing contraceptive, purger of venereal disease, and in some cases an aid to home abortion.” Lovers of Paris will enjoy Eatwell’s chronicles of her journeys through the streets of the Left Bank in search of artists and writers, her descents into the Paris Metro and cataloging of its various smells. She also discusses the massive amount of canine excrement found on Paris streets. In addition, she follows the French on holiday as they flee the cities and migrate to the coast and tells all on French women going topless on the beaches. The French have influenced cultures around the world, but particularly that of the British, and Eatwell also studies the effects French food and culture have had on their neighbors across the Channel. At the end of each piece, the author provides a “myth evaluation” on the myth’s overall veracity.

Entertaining mini-essays that debunk common idealized conceptions of the French.

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1250053053

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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