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Inhaltsangabe: This completely revised and fully updated edition of the book Bill Bryson called superb” presents a sharply insightful, authoritative portrait of France today as it struggles to live up to its vision of itself amid storm clouds that won’t go away.
France on the Brink was chosen as a New York Times book of the year and hailed by the Wall Street Journal as a comprehensive and entertaining diagnosis of what ails French society” when the first edition was published at the turn of the century. Since then, the crisis enveloping France has only worsened, and this second edition, completely revamped to cover the developments of the past fifteen years, offers a fresh assessment of where the nation stands. New chapters chart political developments under Presidents Chirac, Sarkozy, and Hollande; the rise of the hard right National Front; and the unrelenting economic woes that have led to unprecedented levels of disillusion and fragmentation. The country’s social evolution is covered comprehensively, with description and analysis of urban and rural life, regional divisions, tensions over immigration and the fading of the symbols that denoted France’s greatness.
High unemployment, an archaic economic system, a self-selecting governing class unable to handle serious problems, and a debilitating clash between individualism and the powerful state machine that was built on a foundation reaching back to the Revolution of 1789 continue to plague the nation, making it less able than ever to fulfill its role as a world leader. The economic crisis and the European Union’s ongoing fiscal instability, as well as a parade of scandals at the top, have left it weaker than ever halfway into the second decade of the new century.
Jonathan Fenby has covered France for fifty years. In this new edition, he offers a loving though candid and unvarnished picture of the nation, contrasting its glorious past with current realities. He explores not only the problems and the challenges but also the opportunities that lie ahead if only its political class can finally face reality and carry the people along with them. Filled with contemporary and historical anecdotes, France on the Brink depicts the many contradictory aspects of the world’s most complex, seductive, and sometimes infuriating country, and will give even the most knowledgeable Francophile plenty to think about.
Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Review: Images of France frequently include smartly dressed Parisians; sidewalk cafés serving strong coffee and fresh pastries to elegantly clad, chain-smoking students; the rolling hills of Provence draped in lavender; and wizened farmers in berets selling freshly grown vegetables, cheese, and homemade bread at the local market. Or at least they used to. In France on the Brink, Jonathan Fenby depicts France as a modern nation far removed from the stereotypes of its past.
Fenby's introductory chapter presents a catalogue of France's virtues and contributions to culture over the centuries. He devotes the remainder of the book to debunking the French myth, examining what he perceives as its collision course with the realities of the 21st century. The 13 self-contained chapters analyze particular elements of French existence and illustrate how it arrived at its present stage of near collapse. Having spent 30 years either living in France or observing it as a journalist, Fenby commands a firm grasp of French life, politics, regional differences, and national mood. This expertise is illustrated by his breadth of analysis--of everything from baguettes to the National Front, from Mitterand to Bardot, from economics to agriculture.
Despite the pessimism implied by Fenby's title, he concludes his study on an optimistic note: He views the cohabitation between the Gaullist President Jacques Chirac and the socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin as a unique opportunity to lead a fresh revolution, one that embraces the modern world while preserving the best of the past. --Bertina Loeffler Sedlack
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