France in the New Europe: Changing yet Steadfast; Through French Windows: An Introduction to France in the Nineties

In This Review

France in the New Europe: Changing yet Steadfast

By Ronald Tiersky
Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1994
283 pp. $21.00

Through French Windows: An Introduction to France in the Nineties

By James Corbett
University of Michigan Press, 1994
415 pp. $47.50

Tiersky, an American political scientist, has written a succinct, forthright analysis of French political life -- with due attention to the peculiarities of French history, political culture, and social changes. A good introduction to most aspects of the Fifth Republic, with useful references to the key literature. He emphasizes French "normalization," the attenuation of class conflict, the nonideological character of today's major parties. He believes that "this alienated, increasingly deracinated society seems no longer the old France."

It is this modern France with its great technological achievements and modern, secular society that Corbett, a professor at the University of Grenoble, seeks to depict. A book intended for the nonspecialist, for the globe-trotting entrepreneur who should know about demographics and smart cards, about economic and political institutions, but nothing - nothing -- about French culture, past or present. That aspect, the author avers, is covered in other books on France. Informative and aseptic.

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