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The Xenophobe's Guide to the French

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This is one of a series of guides designed to tell the truth about other nations, using sweeping generalizations and observations as a base, detailing what to expect and how to cope with it. The guides try to explain why things are done the way they are and they try to allay the feelings of trepidation with which the xenophobe approaches new territory. This particular book This is one of a series of guides designed to tell the truth about other nations, using sweeping generalizations and observations as a base, detailing what to expect and how to cope with it. The guides try to explain why things are done the way they are and they try to allay the feelings of trepidation with which the xenophobe approaches new territory. This particular book looks at the French.


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This is one of a series of guides designed to tell the truth about other nations, using sweeping generalizations and observations as a base, detailing what to expect and how to cope with it. The guides try to explain why things are done the way they are and they try to allay the feelings of trepidation with which the xenophobe approaches new territory. This particular book This is one of a series of guides designed to tell the truth about other nations, using sweeping generalizations and observations as a base, detailing what to expect and how to cope with it. The guides try to explain why things are done the way they are and they try to allay the feelings of trepidation with which the xenophobe approaches new territory. This particular book looks at the French.

30 review for The Xenophobe's Guide to the French

  1. 4 out of 5

    Virginie

    I am French and my first reaction while reading this book is that it needs a big update (the President is now elected for 5 years, not 7)!! I have also realized that it's funnier to read Xenophobe Guides of other countries than your own. This one was for me exagerating many facts. I believe that the authors tend to discribe more the countryside people in many instances, which is not always representative of the city-people that tourists will get to meet in Paris or other big cities (e.g. parisia I am French and my first reaction while reading this book is that it needs a big update (the President is now elected for 5 years, not 7)!! I have also realized that it's funnier to read Xenophobe Guides of other countries than your own. This one was for me exagerating many facts. I believe that the authors tend to discribe more the countryside people in many instances, which is not always representative of the city-people that tourists will get to meet in Paris or other big cities (e.g. parisians will not pee in the street during the day - maybe at night if nobody is around or if they are real drunk! :-))). I agree that French people are somewhat arrogant towards foreigners, that they believe they are a better people with better customs, food, wine, holiday places... But what about the truth? Don't English, Germans, Dutch, Americans, etc. like to come to France for all these things? Why should a people not be pround of what it has to offer? Well, I'll be happy to read the new version when it's released!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Myriame Alioualla

    Some of the facts are funny and true, for someone who interacts with the french almost daily :) although it gets redundant at a certain time. But let's not forget that it was written 20 years ago... Some of the facts are funny and true, for someone who interacts with the french almost daily :) although it gets redundant at a certain time. But let's not forget that it was written 20 years ago...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dora

    This book is quite funny for everyone who lives or works in France, or is planning to go there for longer than just a holiday. However, keep in mind that it was written to amuse its readers and is therefore full of generalisations and prejudices! I wouldn't recommend it to children or anyone who would believe its every word. Many chapters very written very well, but I don't agree with about 1/3 of the things described in this book, even though I've been living in Paris for a while now. It's a ni This book is quite funny for everyone who lives or works in France, or is planning to go there for longer than just a holiday. However, keep in mind that it was written to amuse its readers and is therefore full of generalisations and prejudices! I wouldn't recommend it to children or anyone who would believe its every word. Many chapters very written very well, but I don't agree with about 1/3 of the things described in this book, even though I've been living in Paris for a while now. It's a nice gift for someone who's going to France, though (that's actually how I got it!). If you are looking for a novel about French lifestyle, try A Year in the Merde.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Irina

    Cartea exploateaza din plin atitudinea usor aroganta a francezilor. Sunt ne-numarate remarci sarcastice referitoare la acest lucru, ceea ce da sarea si piperul lucrarii. Poate cea mai amuzanta a fost cea referitoare la periclitarea celui de Al Treilea Reich din cauza faptului ca i-au fortat pe francezi sa traverseze strada prin locurile special amenajate. O lectura usoara, potrivita pentru o dupa-amiaza lenesa.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Candy

    Loved "The Xenophobe's Guide to the English," so I picked this one up. I know everything in here isn't true, but it's a fun and quick read. Looking forward to reading "The Xenophobe's Guide to the Italians," "Xenophobe's Guide to the Americans," and especially, "The Xenophobe's Guide to the Californians." Loved "The Xenophobe's Guide to the English," so I picked this one up. I know everything in here isn't true, but it's a fun and quick read. Looking forward to reading "The Xenophobe's Guide to the Italians," "Xenophobe's Guide to the Americans," and especially, "The Xenophobe's Guide to the Californians."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mahesh Kondapuram

    Nice book, few descriptions written in the book were very true to my personal observations. Sad that there is no book written for Indians, very much looking forward to read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gabriele

    Et voila - tout vous voulez saver de la Grande Nation: The French believe intensely in what they call la regle: That everything that matters should be done in the right way and inthe right place and at the right time. What they don't like are petty regulations - about parking, smoking,k driving, hygiene and to be lectured on food! Et voila - tout vous voulez saver de la Grande Nation: The French believe intensely in what they call la regle: That everything that matters should be done in the right way and inthe right place and at the right time. What they don't like are petty regulations - about parking, smoking,k driving, hygiene and to be lectured on food!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Micaela

    A hilarious look at French society & culture.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Crissie

    Great reading while waiting to be called for jury duty - explains a lot more about my attitudes than I would have expected!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Like the guide to the Japanese, there's a you-had-to-be-there quality to it -- it's funny but nothing more. Like the guide to the Japanese, there's a you-had-to-be-there quality to it -- it's funny but nothing more.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andie

    Contains mostly ham-fisted generalizations that should be taken with a grain of salt, especially since the edition I read is 15 years old, but is nonetheless an amusing read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wilmington

    I have read and enjoyed many books in the Xenophobe's guide series. This one stands out as an exception. The book reads like a long rant written by someone disillusioned by France and trying to get back at the French as a sort of personal grudge. The book has apparently two authors, one of whom claims to be half French, although obviously not French-born based on the numerous mistakes among the French terms used every few pages. For example, train conductor is mistranslated as 'conducteur' (p.7) I have read and enjoyed many books in the Xenophobe's guide series. This one stands out as an exception. The book reads like a long rant written by someone disillusioned by France and trying to get back at the French as a sort of personal grudge. The book has apparently two authors, one of whom claims to be half French, although obviously not French-born based on the numerous mistakes among the French terms used every few pages. For example, train conductor is mistranslated as 'conducteur' (p.7) when the right word is 'contrôleur'. Funnier, the Club Med is described as "a cocktail of vie de château et vie de sauvage", which the authors translate as "the high life and a taste of the wild". Little do they seem to realise that "vie de sauvage" means "life of a savage" or "life of a wild lunatic". What they intended to write was "vie sauvage" (wild life). On p.81 they say that the nearest translation of the English 'casual' is 'décontracté' or 'sans-gêne'. The latter means 'shameless' or 'bad-mannered', and is never ever used to mean 'casual'. Not knowing this is proof enough of their lousy French language ability for two supposed 'specialists' of France. The general style is one of gross exaggerations and taking rare, extreme cases as examples of how the French behave. On p.43, they state that "there are some French couples who never use 'tu' to one another in their entire married life". This may have been true once among the 19th-century upper classes, but nowadays it isn't more common than a Frenchman owning a crocodile as a pet. On p.31 they claim that "there is an interdependence in French families, where grandparents, aunts and uncles may well live very near the immediate family. All generations are included in family plans, holidays, discussions, meals and celebrations." This looks like a caricature of life in distant rural parts of France, not an accurate depiction of mainstream France. Actually, almost every family will have at least a few relatives living in Paris and turning their back at the 'provincial' roots. Some things are quite simply outdated. On p.27, writing about the way to sign off a letter, they mention that "Where the Americans and English are happy to scrawl 'best wishes' or 'all the best', the French insist on 'Nous vous prions d'agréer, Monsieur, l'assurance de nos sentiments respectueux". This used to be true even 10 years ago, but emails have simplified this, and most exchanges now end by 'Cordialement' or 'Bien à vous', even in business context or when dealing with civil servants. On p.54, the authors dismiss French TV as only good to show the news, French sport and French films, apart from the French-German Arte channel, which 'has good documentaries'. What about the four main channels of France Televisions ? There are very good documentaries every day about French history ('Secrets d'Histoire'), or the various aspects of French culture, gastronomy and heritage ('Des Racines et des Ailes', 'Echappées Belles'), which are of very high quality (nothing to envy to BBC programmes). On p.84 the authors use the game of 'boules' as a generality for the French mindset, when the game is only played in some specific parts of the south, like Marseille. The condescending tone of the book is well captured when they write "only the French could break into a sweat by throwing a small metal ball in the air". I was also quite annoyed by the constant (erroneous) generalisations of the kind "people all over the world do X, except the French" or "everybody else behaves that way", when their examples apply only to Britain or the English-speaking world. I wouldn't have expected that kind of attitude from a series about world cultures.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joshua McCune

    A whimsical and good-natured insight into modern French culture, from the personalities and values of the people of France, to the importance of etiquette in gourmet cuisine, ‘Xenophobe’s Guide to the French’ presents a brief, comical look at the French without being in any way xenophobic. This book (and the series from which it comes) is certainly not to be taken too seriously, and yet presents a plethora of light-hearted routes into the life and times of France today and historically.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Martín Raúl Villalba

    Entertaining, if a bit outdated. Rings true on a lot of things, after spending some time in France. Not as good as the Norwegian book of the same series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Xfnty

    Many rough approximations, and fantasies. Pleasant, but forgettable.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mergenc Pater

    Ez a könyv borzalmasan elnéző. :D

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monika

  18. 4 out of 5

    Smai Fullerton

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bald Bull

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emilia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ion

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anne Dembski

  23. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle

  24. 5 out of 5

    Șerban Bratu

  25. 4 out of 5

    teodora diana van d'or

  26. 5 out of 5

    Valentina

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

  29. 4 out of 5

    trent plaine

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nick Yee

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