Everyone tries to pigeonhole France. The vast numbers who go there on holiday or who discuss the French from across the Channel and Atlantic produce judgments which express anything from adulation to ill-tempered irritation. France and the French, ...
it seems, remain resolutely mysterious and inexplicable. Rod Kedward has spent his entire adult life immersed in the study of France. He knows Paris intimately but is just as much at home in the regions and la France profonde, the remote back country. Here he brings to life the great, and often terrible, dramas of modern France - the two cataclysmic wars, the Algerian disaster, the student and worker revolt of 1968 - but also explores the special worlds of the workplace, immigration, minorities, the role of women, and the relationship of politics to place, everyday life and collective memory."La Vie en Bleu: France and the French Since 1900" is a history of people and events that tells a multitude of stories - some impressive, some shameful and many that starkly divide the French among themselves. If there is a 'vie en bleu', it is one of deep inner contrasts. The title is as contentious as the history it reveals. The result is a book that is both definitive and provocative, and one that approaches the ideas about 'Frenchness' from a challenging range of perspectives. A great, complex culture emerges from these pages - a culture whose arguments with itself have been as profound as any of the changes since 1900. This is a compelling account of a country and a people who confronted, and created, military, political and social pressures of dramatic intensity. Judgements will still be made, and pigeonholes found, but the rich narratives of this book anchor French identities firmly in their own impassioned history.
Number of pages: 761
Date of publication: 30/06/2005
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