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France, the romanticized, revolutionary land with an enlightened historical mission—Liberty, Equality, Fraternity for all—is failing its own citizens and its admirers around the world. How did the country get here, and what can be done about it?
In Fixing France, Nabila Ramdani assesses the fault lines in her struggling nation with unflinching clarity and originality.
The makeshift Fifth Republic, which emerged from the cataclysmic Algerian War of Independence, has produced extremism. Constitutional reform is urgently needed: an all-powerful monarchical president displays little interest in democracy, while a mainstream far-right party founded by Nazi collaborators threatens to deliver a head of state.
Segregated suburbs, institutionalized rioting, economic injustice, a monolithic education system, the debasement of women, deep-seated racial and religious discrimination, paramilitary policing, terrorism, and a duplicitous foreign policy all fuel the growing crisis.
Ramdani’s critique is stark but provides real hope: the broken French Republic can and must be fixed.
‘[A] highly readable … blazing indictment of modern France … Ramdani’s criticism is heartfelt and justified.’The Sunday Times (UK)
"I highly recommend Fixing France because it's not a counsel of despair but an honest appraisal of where France is today. A fascinating read."Ayesha Hazarika, Columnist and Times Radio Broadcaster.
"Fixing France is certain to ruffle Gallic feathers, and likely many of those enamored with everything French."The Diplomatic Courier
“Ramdani was born to write this book. She is the insider with the skeptical eye of an outsider. She dissects this wonderful, vexing country that was the home of the Enlightenment—but which still needs a lot of enlightening.”Jon Sopel, former Paris and Washington correspondent, BBC, and cohost of The News Agents
“Acclaimed journalist Ramdani portrays a France she knows intimately. She highlights her country’s contradictions with wit. Her book is extremely well-documented and uncompromising yet hopeful. It provides France with an opportunity for some serious soul-searching.”Rokhaya Diallo, author, filmmaker, and columnist, Washington Post
“A timely intervention into the debate about France’s present and future at a crucial juncture in the country’s politics. Ramdani forensically pierces through the mythologies of the Fifth Republic, combining socio-economic analysis, history, and her own encounters with some of the most powerful and polarizing political figures in the country. A must-read for Francophiles and agitators alike.”Mehreen Khan, economics editor, The Times (UK)
“Ramdani’s brave book bursts with questions about the country she loves. An insider’s account with an outsider’s critical eye. Few have made a stronger argument for tearing down the Fifth Republic and building a new France.”Keir Simmons, chief international correspondent, NBC News
“Evocative and beautifully written, this is a thorough and thought-provoking analysis of modern France, and where it’s going wrong.”Sam Greenhill, chief reporter, Daily Mail
“English-language literature overwhelms us with analysis of America’s broken politics. Yet there isn’t nearly enough about our own continental politics. Ramdani’s accessible deep dive into France’s frenetic politics provides us with an essential perspective.”Mark Stone, foreign correspondent, Sky News
“A timely and fresh perspective on a country that seems to have it all. Wealth, global influence, a storied history, and rich culture. Yet its citizens are angry and dissatisfied. Why? Ramdani asks the right questions and provides some smart answers, in this thought-provoking book.”Clive Myrie, presenter and former France correspondent, BBC
“France is a society with many contradictions, especially ones related to subjects such as colonialism, racism, and identity. In this absorbing and highly readable book, Ramdani skillfully captures and unravels the delusions under which many French still operate and, most importantly, offers avenues forward.”Jean Beaman, author, Citizen Outsider: Children of North African Immigrants in France
“France is ailing, struggling to reconcile age-old Republican ideals with the realities of twenty-first-century society, and the resulting polarization is proving to be toxic. In Fixing France, Ramdani draws on personal experience, family history, and a longstanding track record of insightful analysis and commentary in order to suggest a diagnosis and provide meaningful remedies, as well as a roadmap for a nation eager to remain an incontrovertible reference in European and global politics.”Dominic Thomas, Letessier Professor of French, University of California, Los Angeles
“For anyone with a love of France, Ramdani’s book will interest and provoke with its analysis of its problems and the challenges it faces to remedy them. The criticisms are sharp but delivered with insight and affection for her country.”Dominic Grieve, former Attorney General for England and Wales
“Ramdani’s timely book is a nuanced reflection upon the problems facing France—racism, polarisation, colonial amnesia, an elitist education system—and the solutions needed to fix them. Required reading for anyone wishing to grapple with the challenges facing not just twenty-first-century France but the twenty-first-century world.”Martin Evans, Professor of Modern European History, University of Sussex and author of Algeria: France’s Undeclared War
“In Fixing France, French journalist Ramdani brings her personal insider-outsider perspective and professional background to the broken French Republic. The book is an invaluable constructive critique of France in the last seventy years, providing detailed cultural insights, historical knowledge, and a comprehensive overview of the French political system. The book is an engaging and enlightening read and will be enjoyed by Francophiles and those interested in the historical-political roots of contemporary France. Ramdani covers themes such as terrorism, politics, feminism, and foreign policy to suggest how France’s path might be corrected today.”Dr Amy Hubbell, Senior Lecturer in French, University of Queensland
“France is the European country we think we know best, but Ramdani’s Fixing France shines a light on the dark corners of one of Europe’s most complex, influential, and fascinating nations. Ramdani forensically explains the framework for the current rise of the radical right in France—from the country’s history of Nazi Occupation to the ongoing legacy of its North African colonialism. Through direct meetings with many of the leading political figures, and her own lived experience as a Frenchwoman of Algerian descent, Ramdani’s thorough research is complemented by a unique insight and an accessible and engaging writing style.”Barbara Serra, Italian-British journalist and director of the award-winning documentary Fascism in the Family
- On Sale
- Sep 26, 2023
- Page Count
- 352 pages