France is the most popular country in the world with foreign visitors. Each year millions of people arrive there to take delight in its landscapes, its extraordinarily rich history, its art and architecture, its food and its wine. For many visitors, especially, perhaps, the British, the only difficulties lie with the people. The French, it is generally agreed, are either irritating or baffling or both. Theodore Zeldin?s book is an erudite but tongue-in-cheek guide to the French which will dispel any lingering Francophobia in the minds of those who read it. In chapters with titles like 'Why it is hard to meet an Average French Person?, 'How to understand what they are trying to say? and 'How to sympathise with them?, he unravels the mysteries of the French. This is a brilliantly sustained, readable and amusing cultural analysis which unlocks the door to the French mind and the French spirit.
This is a book for anyone who has ever found the French elusive, obstinate, irritating, perplexing or simply enthralling. The French magazine L'Usine Nouvelle says that Zeldin, Oxford don and author of several brilliant thematic studies of French social history, 'understands us better than our politicians, our employers, our wives and our children'. And so he does. Unputdownable. (Kirkus UK)