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Learning to Love the French as They Are

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Looks like an interesting read for Francophiles (and perhaps some Francophobes as well)...

"Learning to Love the French as They Are"

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/14/books/14FREN.html?8hpib

An excerpt...

The book ["Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong" by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow, two Canadian journalists] tells its share of cute stories about cross-cultural infractions that this married couple ? one a French speaker from Quebec and the other an English speaker from Ontario ? suffered and inflicted during their two-year stay in France.

But the authors' intent was more anthropological than literary as they aimed to find historic, geographic and linguistic reasons for French behavior ? not just at the table but also in business and politics and school, as well as on the subway and at the market.

They examined the many paradoxes of France. It has an overregulated economy with high taxes and double-digit unemployment, but is also one of the world's most productive countries. Its people drink, smoke and indulge in high-cholesterol food with abandon, yet have far less obesity and fewer heart problems than Americans. French attitudes are sometimes disparaged as anti-Semitic, but France was also the first European country to grant civil rights to Jews and has had Jewish presidents prime ministers.

"We wanted to decide what were perceptions and what were the results of prejudices we grew up with," Ms. Barlow explained in an interview.

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