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1. Culture Shock! France
2. Society and Culture in Early Modern
3. France (Cultures of the World)
4. Speak the Culture: France: Be
5. France - Culture Smart!: a quick
6. Avant-Garde Fascism: The Mobilization
7. Culture and Customs of France
8. France Since 1870: Culture, Politics
9. Worthy Monuments: Art Museums
10. "There Are No Slaves in France":
11. The Colonial Unconscious: Race
12. North African Women in France:
13. For the Soul of France: Culture
14. The Family on Trial in Revolutionary
15. France - the culture (Lands, Peoples,
16. Equal in Monastic Profession:
17. Teach Yourself World Cultures:
18. Culture Shock! Paris: A Survival
19. Differential Diagnoses: A Comparative
20. Changing Minds: The Shifting Perception

1. Culture Shock! France
by Sally Adamson Taylor
Paperback: 256 Pages (2008-09)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761454802
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette

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Customer Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars A good basic book
I find the "Culture Shock" series to be pretty interesting.To gain some perspective, read the book on your own culture to see how accurate the author is regarding you (British, French, American, etc).What I've found from traveling all over the world for work is learning a couple of phrases in the native language goes a LONG way toward making friends.I keep a little journal with me and have a few useful phrases and translations of certain key words, numbers, etc.Be polite and smile.You will always make mistakes, but if you show interest in the culture, people will generally go out of their way to help you.These books are probably not for the average tourist, but can be quite helpful for those working or spending an extended amount of time in-country.Remember, at the basic level, we are all pretty much the same; treat others as you wish to be treated.Enjoy!

2-0 out of 5 stars Where's the culture?
I expected a larger analysis of French culture and was disappointed to see that large portions of the book were devoted to things such as how to use the public transport systems in Paris.Most of the book's info is the type for a travel guide, not a book on culture.If you already have a good guidebook on France this book probably doesn't introduce much useful information, and doesn't really provide more info on culture than one either.French art and cinema are barely introduced while there are descriptions of the cuisine of each region of France, and info on wines.There is some info on corporate culture, and practical info for those moving to France, but there are already many books specifically dealing with this. Do we really need two pages of embassy addresses in Paris in a book about French culture? The author also keeps inserting comparisons with Asian culture that are interesting seem annoying when they get the same amount of attention as some topics on French culture.Overall, I feel that the book introduces too many things, and doesn't offer what it advertises. This is a simple introduction to culture, traveling to France, or moving to France, but Ifeel like my lonely planet gave me more info on the first two, and there more helpful books/websites for the last one.

2-0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother
Some Culture Shock books are great--the one written about Sweden, for example, is spot on in every respect--but I found the France book neither engaging nor helpful. I liked another one much more--I think it was called French or Foe?...

1-0 out of 5 stars a small paperback book
Can somebody help me out here?I'm trying to understand why this paperback is priced at $75.00 on this site yet my copy was published in 2005 and priced at $14.75.Now I see used ones for normal prices.It's a small guide-type book.Interesting, but I don't understand the high price.??

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I found this book fascinating and very practical.The suggestion for us Americans to not ask "what do you do?" and to not expect everyone to agree with us all the time is excellent and important.Also, the suggestion for Americans to not give the insincere smile and compliment which have become "de rigueur" in the United States is accurate. The book has a single error in the glossary:the translations for qui and pourquoi are transposed -- big deal.Fun to read, easy to understand, and funny.Read this book if you're going to France. ... Read more

2. Society and Culture in Early Modern France: Eight Essays
by Natalie Zemon Davis
Paperback: 384 Pages (1975-06-01)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$18.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804709726
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The seminal work of cultural history
Judging from the title, Natalie Davis has set the bar rather high for her book.Society and Culture in Early Modern France is a collection of eight essays, written by Davis between 1965 and 1975.The essays address a wide spectrum of topics, including the role of printers and class in Reformed Lyon, the relation between women and the Reformation in the same city, traditions of role reversal in sixteenth century Europe, and the spread of literacy and printed books in France among different economic classes.Examining such a broad array of subjects means that Davis does deliver on the implicit promise of the book's title.The reader leaves with enough snapshots of the social and cultural milieu of sixteenth century France to construct a general image of the experiences of the people of the time and place.

Davis has been hailed as one of the "new breed" of historians, those using the social sciences as a lens for history.While Davis's goal may be a traditional objective for historians - generating and understanding a detailed account of everyday existence at a certain place and time in the past - her methods are new.Applying knowledge of disciplines as diverse as sociology, anthropology, and textual analysis, Davis looks at the past in an attempt to divine the meaning of events, actions, and people.As she herself states, "[a] journeymen's initiation rite, a village festive organization, an informal gathering of women for a lying-in or of men and women for storytelling, or a street disturbance could be `read' as fruitfully as a diary, a political tract, a sermon, or a body of laws" (xvii).Davis is less interested in putting together a causal flowchart for history to spell out the whys and wherefores than in looking for meaning in certain "cultural artifacts" (xvi).

To illustrate this point, three examples are particularly useful. When discussing the actions of Protestant journeymen printers in Lyon, Davis explains their Psalm singing by saying that "[t]heir numbers and the activistic fellowship of their singing not only helped them brave arrest, but also allayed more profound fears of death and human isolation" (5).This slightly verbose method of describing the old adage of "safety in numbers" is clearly an anthropological reading of the artisans' actions.Later, in the essay City Women and Religious Change, Davis compares the iconoclasm of Protestant rioters with the same singing printers, because "...like the armed march of the psalm-singers, the iconoclastic riot was a transfer of the joint political action of the grain riot in the religious sphere" (88).Finally, in the somewhat enigmatic essay Women on Top, when discussing the importance of cross-dressing during European agricultural festivals, Davis tells the reader that "[a]ll interpreters of this transvestism see it... as a fertility rite - biological or agricultural - embedded into festivities that may have had other meanings as well" (138).Clearly, Davis seeks to find the underlying meaning behind these actions in an attempt to illustrate how members of the societies of early modern France saw themselves and their environment.

Society and Culture in Early Modern France is a work of admirable scholarship, all the more so when it is considered within the time these essays were first published.Application of cultural anthropology and semiotics to the stuff of history was novel forty years ago, and even today the Annales school delivers fresh interpretations of familiar topics.Setting aside questions of belief in the determinative aspects of economy, geography, or political systems, Davis's book doesn't so much deny the influence of those and other factors, but instead makes it explicit that what Davis finds most interesting is the relation between action, actor, and meaning.
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3. France (Cultures of the World)
by Ethel Gofen
 Hardcover: 128 Pages (1995-02)
list price: US$35.64
Isbn: 1854354493
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An overview of the geography, history, government, culture, and people of France. ... Read more

4. Speak the Culture: France: Be Fluent in French Life and Culture
by Andrew Whittaker
Paperback: 300 Pages (2008-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$16.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1854184938
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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A guidebook can show you where to go, a phrase-book what to say when you get there. Only Speak the Culture: France will lead you to the nation’s soul. This easy-to-use cultural companion reflects what it means to have grown up with Camus, Cézanne, De Gaulle and Bardot; it captures the spirit of France and delves deep into the Gallic psyche.

Through exploring the people, the movements and the lifestyles that have shaped the French experience, you will come to an intimate understanding of France and the French.

There are many travel guides and manuals on living in France. Speak the Culture: France is different: a superbly designed, informed and entertaining insight into French lifeand culture and who the French really are.

Recommended by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, the Official French Government Centre of Language and Culture in the UK

For new residents, business travellers, holidaymakers, students and lovers of France everywhere, Speak the Culture: France is an engaging companion and guide to an enviably rich civilization at the heart of Europe.

“It would be wrong to imagine that your average Frenchwoman just pops into Chanel on the Rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré whenever she needs a new bag, cardy or fragrance. While a significant minority do indulge in ready-to-wear lines produced by designer labels, most are happy with less brand-conscious garments. Small boutiques and historic department stores like Le Bon Marché and Les Galeries Lafayette sell the big brands, but many French are happy to buy anonymous clothes at knockdown prices in chain stores like Tati, or even in the hypermarket.” ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Cover says it all
Looking at the cover of this book, I found myself thinking, "Oh...F. Couldn't the author sit still long enough to put some other letters in there....an R, A, N, C...E, maybe? Then people would know what the book is about."
And as I read through it, I found myself thinking, "Oh...couldn't the writer sit still long enough to write more than 5 sentences on each subject...? Then people would know what the book is about."

Well, not that I didn't generally know - it was about "F".

The basic lack of structure, analysis, organization, and in-depth coverage of topics made this book a very hard read. First, it is split into various chapters on the different aspects of life and culture in France. Those chapters - while following a basic theme - are riddled with side notes, footnotes, and, in the case of some pages, with only notes.

There wasn't enough information provided on any one topic to make me feel like I'd actually learned anything. And, faced with so many loosely connected facts at a time, I wasn't able to retain any of them. When something caught my attention I had to google it to actually understand it.

I'm sure some would think it an interesting read; maybe people already highly knowledgeable about France would find the odd fact here and there to talk about over hors d'oeuvres at a chic party overlooking the Seine...but for people looking to gain beginning insight into the country and the culture, a fairly comprehensive picture, I would suggest a different read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great reference book on French civilisation
The book is a great reference on many aspects of theFrench civilisation in its current state as well as its history. Luckily it lacks that unavoidable "I Love France but Not the French" Anglo-Saxon attitude (or at least it is not that pronounced as elsewhere due the the format of the book) which is a very rare thing in itself for a book about France written in English. ... Read more

5. France - Culture Smart!: a quick guide to customs & etiquette
by Barry Tomalin
Paperback: 168 Pages (2006-09-05)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$5.58
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Asin: 1857333071
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.

Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include

* customs, values, and traditions
* historical, religious, and political background
* life at home
* leisure, social, and cultural life
* eating and drinking
* do's, don'ts, and taboos
* business practices
* communication, spoken and unspoken

"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

"...as useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times
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Customer Reviews (1)

2-0 out of 5 stars The author obviously hates the French people.
After reading the book, I came to the conclusion that the author just hates the French people. If I had read this book before my first trip to France, I would have cancelled it. ... Read more

6. Avant-Garde Fascism: The Mobilization of Myth, Art, and Culture in France, 1909–1939
by Mark Antliff
Paperback: 376 Pages (2007-01-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$23.86
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Asin: 0822340348
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Investigating the central role that theories of the visual arts and creativity played in the development of fascism in France, Mark Antliff examines the aesthetic dimension of fascist myth-making within the history of the avant-garde. Between 1909 and 1939, a surprising array of modernists were implicated in this project, including such well-known figures as the symbolist painter Maurice Denis, the architects Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret, the sculptors Charles Despiau and Aristide Maillol, the “New Vision” photographer Germaine Krull, and the fauve Maurice Vlaminck.

Antliff considers three French fascists: Georges Valois, Philippe Lamour, and Thierry Maulnier, demonstrating how they appropriated the avant-garde aesthetics of cubism, futurism, surrealism, and the so-called Retour à l’Ordre (“Return to Order”), and, in one instance, even defined the “dynamism” of fascist ideology in terms of Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s theory of montage. For these fascists, modern art was the mythic harbinger of a regenerative revolution that would overthrow existing governmental institutions, inaugurate an anticapitalist new order, and awaken the creative and artistic potential of the fascist “new man.”

In formulating the nexus of fascist ideology, aesthetics, and violence, Valois, Lamour, and Maulnier drew primarily on the writings of the French political theorist Georges Sorel, whose concept of revolutionary myth proved central to fascist theories of cultural and national regeneration in France. Antliff analyzes the impact of Sorel’s theory of myth on Valois, Lamour, and Maulnier. Valois created the first fascist movement in France; Lamour, a follower of Valois, established the short-lived Parti Fasciste Révolutionnaire in 1928 before founding two fascist-oriented journals; Maulnier forged a theory of fascism under the auspices of the journals Combat and Insurgé.

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7. Culture and Customs of France (Culture and Customs of Europe)
by W. Scott Haine
Hardcover: 344 Pages (2006-10-30)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$23.97
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Asin: 0313328927
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The French are of perennial interest, for, among other things, their style, their cuisine and wine, and their cultural output. Culture and Customs of France is a thoroughly jam-packed narrative through the glories that France continues to offer the world. The volume is a boon for preparing country reports, a must-read for travelers, and perfect for culture studies. Chapters on the land, people, and history, religion, social customs, gender, family, and marriage, cinema and media, literature, food and fashion, architecture and art, and performing arts are current and pleasurable to read.

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8. France Since 1870: Culture, Politics and Society
by Charles Sowerwine
Paperback: 531 Pages (2001-02-24)
list price: US$38.00 -- used & new: US$69.45
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Asin: 033365837X
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This fascinating, authoritative history describes the great political, economic, cultural, and social events that have defined the period, from the convulsive establishment of a French republic to the apotheosis of French national culture in World War I, from the acrimonious failure of the 1930s and the Occupation to France's resurgence as a central focus of postwar Europe. The book ends with President Mitterand's retirement, an epochal event that marked the severing of France's last link with the Vichy government and the Fourth Republic.
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9. Worthy Monuments: Art Museums and the Politics of Culture in Nineteenth-Ceuntury France
by Daniel J. Sherman
Hardcover: 352 Pages (1989-09-20)
list price: US$62.50 -- used & new: US$45.00
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Asin: 0674962303
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Attracting controversy as readily as they do crowds, art museums--the Grand Louvre project and the new Orsay in Paris, or the proposed Whitney and Guggenheim additions in New York, for example--occupy a curious but central position in world culture. Choosing the art museums of provincial France in the previous century as a paradigm, Daniel Sherman reaches toward an understanding of the museum's place in modern society by exploring its past. He uses an array of previously unstudied archival sources as evidence that the museum's emergence as an institution involved not only the intricacies of national policy but also the political dynamics and social fabric of the nineteenth-century city.

The author ascertains that while the French state played an important role in the creation of provincial museums during the Revolutionary era, for much of the next century it was content simply to send works of art to the provinces. When in the 1880s the new Republican regime began to devote more attention to the real purposes and functions of provincial museums, officials were surprised to learn that the initiative had already passed into the hands of local elites who had nurtured their own museums from their inception.

Sherman devotes particular attention to the museums of Bordeaux, Dijon, Marseilles, and Rouen. From their origins as repositories for objects confiscated during the Revolution, they began to attract the attention of local governments, which started to add objects purchased at regional art exhibitions. In the period 1860-1890, monumental buildings were constructed, and these museums became identified with the cities' bourgeois leaders. This central connection with local elites has continued to our own day, and leads into the author's stimulating reflections on the art museum's past, present, and future.

This original and highly readable account should attract those with an interest in cultural institutions and art history in general as well as those who study the history and sociology of modern France.

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10. "There Are No Slaves in France": The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime
by Sue Peabody
Paperback: 224 Pages (2002-09-26)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$28.84
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Asin: 0195158660
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There Are No Slaves in France examines the paradoxical emergence of political antislavery and institutional racism in the century prior to the French Revolution. Sue Peabody shows how the political culture of late Bourbon France created ample opportunities for contestation over the meaning of freedom. Based on various archival sources, this work will be of interest not only to historians of slavery and France, but to scholars interested in the emergence of modern culture in the Atlantic world. ... Read more

11. The Colonial Unconscious: Race and Culture in Interwar France
by Elizabeth Ezra
Paperback: 208 Pages (2000-05-04)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$14.95
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Asin: 0801486475
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France between the two World Wars was pervaded by representations of its own colonial power, expressed forcefully in the human displays at the expositions coloniales, films starring Josephine Baker, and the short stories of Paul Morand, and more subtly in the avant-garde writings of Ren Crevel and Raymond Roussel. In her lively book, Elizabeth Ezra interprets a fascinating array of cultural products to uncover what she terms the "colonial unconscious" of the Jazz Age--the simultaneous attraction and repulsion of exoticism and the double bind of a colonial discourse that foreclosed the possibility of the very assimilation it invited.

Ezra situates the apotheosis of French colonialism in relation to both the internal tensions of the colonial project and the competing imperialisms ofGreat Britain and the United States. Examining both the uses and the limits of psychoanalytic theories of empire, she proposes a reading of French colonialism which, while historically specific, also contributes to our understanding of contemporary culture. The enduring legacy of empire is felt to this day, as Ezra demonstrates in a provocative epilogue on the remarkable similarities between the rhetoric of colonial France and accounts of the French victory in the 1998 World Cup. ... Read more

12. North African Women in France: Gender, Culture, and Identity
by Caitlin Killian
Paperback: 296 Pages (2006-07-07)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$18.76
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Asin: 0804754217
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In recent decades more Algerian, Moroccan, and Tunisian women have immigrated to France than men, yet despite their increasing numbers first generation immigrant women are rarely the focus of research.

In this sociological study, Caitlin Killian examines how Muslim women construct and manage their identities in the midst of a foreign culture—what they hold on to from their countries of origin and what they decide to embrace in France, why some immigrant women cope better with challenges in their new country than others, and how they raise children who will one day be French.She demonstrates that these women engage in selective acculturation and highlights their ability to resist labels that do not fit with their self perceptions.These findings point to the flexibility of personal identity, even among visible minorities whose self-identification choices were previously thought to be highly constrained.

... Read more

13. For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus
by Frederick Brown
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2010-01-26)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$14.93
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Asin: 0307266311
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Frederick Brown, cultural historian, author of acclaimed biographies of Émile Zola (“Magnificent”—The New Yorker) and Flaubert (“Splendid . . . Intellectually nuanced, exquisitely written”—The New Republic) now gives us an ambitious, far-reaching book—a perfect joining of subject and writer: a portrait of fin-de-siècle France.

He writes about the forces that led up to the twilight years of the nineteenth century when France, defeated by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, was forced to cede the border states of Alsace and Lorraine, and of the resulting civil war, waged without restraint, that toppled Napoléon III, crushed the Paris Commune, and provoked a dangerous nationalism that gripped the Republic.

The author describes how postwar France, a nation splintered in the face of humiliation by the foreigner—Prussia—dissolved into two cultural factions: moderates, proponents of a secular state (“Clericalism, there is the enemy!”), and reactionaries, who saw their ideal nation—militant, Catholic, royalist—embodied by Joan of Arc, with their message, that France had suffered its defeat in 1871 for having betrayed its true faith. A bitter debate took hold of the heart and soul of the country, framed by the vision of “science” and “technological advancement” versus “supernatural intervention.”

Brown shows us how Paris’s most iconic monuments that rose up during those years bear witness to the passionate decades-long quarrel. At one end of Paris was Gustave Eiffel’s tower, built in iron and more than a thousand feet tall, the beacon of a forward-looking nation; at Paris’ other end, at the highest point in the city, the basilica of the Sacré-Coeur, atonement for the country’s sins and moral laxity whose punishment was France’s defeat in the war . . .

Brown makes clear that the Dreyfus Affair—the cannonade of the 1890s—can only be understood in light of these converging forces. “The Affair” shaped the character of public debate and informed private life. At stake was the fate of a Republic born during the Franco-Prussian War and reared against bitter opposition.

The losses that abounded during this time—the financial loss suffered by thousands in the crash of the Union Génerale, a bank founded in 1875 to promote Catholic interests with Catholic capital outside the Rothschilds’ sphere of influence, along with the failure of the Panama Canal Company—spurred the partisan press, which blamed both disasters on Jewry.

The author writes how the roiling conflicts that began thirty years before Dreyfus did not end with his exoneration in 1900. Instead they became the festering point that led to France’s surrender to Hitler’s armies in 1940, when the Third Republic fell and the Vichy government replaced it, with Marshal Pétain heralded as the latest incarnation of Joan of Arc, France’s savior . . . ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars There are many reasons to like this book.
There are many reasons to like this book.

First, it is about a culture war, and if you think that the US culture war will come to an end someday soon, consider the poor French, who endured theirs from the before the 1789 revolution to around 1905, when the church was finally separated from the state.

As with our culture wars, the left (the enlightenment, the secular side) kept winning, and the right (the Catholic Church, the peasantry in certain areas, the old aristocracy) kept retreating. But not graciously. For every defeat, blame was put upon the Jews. For instance, the Eiffel Tower, a symbol of science and progress, was vilified by the right because it did not come from traditional architectural roots, like the Sacre-Coeur. Jews had to be responsible, so the blame was put on the Jew Eiffel. Except that neither he nor any of his ancestors were Jewish. The same was true of the Union General, an investment house dedicated to improving the status and wealth of the church. It was betrayed by its pious founder, but Jews were found to blame. The same was true of the Panama Canal Company, which seems to have corrupted large sections of the French government. I kept thinking that if France had lost World War I, some French Hitler might have come to power in France. The preconditions were there.

The outcome was a victory by the left, a separation of church and state, but it consumed French passions for over a hundred years. This book helped me to understand the current antipathy of the French to the Moslem burka, which does not seem to bother the Americans or the British.

Another reason to read this book is that it is composed of good stories. The account of the Dreyfus affair is the best I have ever read. The section on Boulanger--a handsome but limited man who nearly became a dictator--is hilarious. The book is a series of essays on various topics. Each is an interesting story in itself. Taken together they illustrate the overall theme.

Finally, the author is funny. One politician he describes as "a high-strung little man, who looked more like a ninepin than a pillar of state." Of another who was told to temper his enthusiasm, "he might as well have asked Zephyr to guard against blowing."

Nineteenth century prose is extravagant and rhetorical to our ears. Brown has absorbed some of it, which is a mixed blessing. He writes that "the brigadier was a rare bird, and republicans in Paris reacted to news of his sighting like grackles suddenly befriended by a raptor." I had to look up several of his abstruse classical references. I am glad that someone continues to use them.

5-0 out of 5 stars As Edith Piaf said, er, sang,"Non Je Ne Regret Rein"
Someone once wrote that but for the uncounted careers and lives shattered or lost, the personal and public fortunes scattered or purloined, the military scandals and misadventures, and the viciously irreligious religious disputes, nineteenth century French political life would make a marvelous comic opera.It came too late, but one can easily imagine Gilbert & Sullivan concocting a delightful operetta of the Dreyfus Affair were it not for the fact that the duplicitous machinations of the Army General Staff, the pernicious irresponsibility ofthe popular press, and the noxious fulminations of execrable anti-Semites would combine to suggest a libretto more fantastical than any `Mikado' or "Pinafore.'

Despite my fondness for one or two chanteuses, I have never been particularly intrigued by post-Revolutionary French domestic history (excepting Napoleon and his tumultuous era) because I have found trying to follow the ebb's and flow's of the various regimes, up to and including to the present day, not really worth the effort.The royals may have been despotic by definition but at least they possessed a facially consistent claim to legitimacy and internal symmetry as evidenced by the fact that a very considerable part of the population never fell out of love with the idea of them, if not their earthly embodiments.But one has to admit that the French are a beguiling bunch, even as they defy comprehension, and so I took a chance on this book because of its stated premise.After all, there is nothing in French history more difficult to get a handle on than how it unfolded in the nineteenth century.And, with Ms. Piaf, I have no regrets.

Author Brown does an absolutely superb job of portraying the social and religious atmospheres of the time and the ever-roiling tensions between `secular republicans' and the generally religious-oriented monarchists.As noted by other reviewers, his succinct descriptions of the era's two principal public scandals, the Union Generale and the Panama Canal fiasco, are models of historical story-telling, as is his account of the Dreyfus Affair which was the logical, arguably inevitable, culmination of the period's events and serves as the coda of this excellent work. Eiffel, de Lesseps, Boulanger, Clemenceau, MacMahon, Zola, the reformers and those badly in need of reform, are all present and adroitly accounted for as Brown recounts his tale.And I must admit I found the enterprise both illuminating and a complete pleasure to read.

The author is a word composer of exceptional skill.He writes like a fine athlete strides: forceful yet restrained, purposeful yet elegant, altogether obviously knowing where he's going and how he's going to get there.And he wields his manifestly impressive vocabulary as a scalpel rather than a sword.Have your dictionary at your elbow and delight in exploring words you either never acquired or have forgotten.

In sum, a terrific read that, and I'm reluctant to say this, might just encourage me to pay more attention to the history of those arcane Frenchmen rather than only their songs.

5-0 out of 5 stars A bonbon of pop history
A luscious bonbon of pop history. Elegantly designed, from its typography (in Sabon, since you ask: the book has a colophon, of course) to its deckle-edge pages, cover design and tasteful choice of illustrations. The signatures in my copy were glued a little too tightly and I sometimes had to tear at them a little to open the book out flat, but this just adds to its Craftsman elegance. I came across only two typos or misspellings. I like to think these were due to the overconfidence of the book editors who, presented with an electronic ms. in what looked like immaculate prose, didn't bother with copy editors and proofreaders, and just zipped it off to the print shop in Lancaster, PA.

Frederick Brown's last books were biographies were acclaimed biographies of Zola and Flaubert. His love for the era fill his narrative with a warm glow. Here he has set himself a trickier subject. This is not the story of a single author finding his voice and battling his critics, or a rhapsody about the greatness of French culture, but an investigation of a proud national civilization in midlife crisis, when a lot of ugly things were said and done.

The most useful parts of the book are the chapters about the Union Generale bank, the Panama Scandal, and the soap-bubble-like political enthusiasm for General Boulanger. These were the hot crises of the "peaceful" decade of the 1880s. I've read about them before, but always found my eyes glazing over. Momentous events and sparkling personalities, yes; but there are just too many of them. Brown handles them all with entertaining concision.

The heart of the book, unsurprisingly, is the section on the Dreyfus Affair. For most people this has always been an infernal puzzlement. Many of the basic facts are still unknown, largely because most of the principal players lied like troupers. We've all learned the baby-talk version: Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a colorless nobody, is accused of espionage; convicted and exiled to the legendary Devil's Island for four long years; but finally revealed to be the victim of a cruel conspiracy by the fire-breathing anti-Semites of the French officer corps and Catholic hierarchy.

Brown's patient unfurling of the tale makes it clear that the Affair was never really about Dreyfus himself, or his guilt or innocence. The leftist and anti-clerical "Dreyfusards" found the case a convenient club for taunting and whacking their political enemies. Almost from the start, they used the foreign press to sound the alarm that the French Army and Church had connived to railroad an innocent man because he was a Jew. Infuriated by this international propaganda war, the "anti-Dreyfusards" fell into the ambush and circled the wagons. They fell over themselves to defend the conviction even when a cursory review of the facts suggested that there were other, bigger spies than Dreyfus and there was a good chance Dreyfus himself was innocent.Secret dossiers were passed around, new notes were forged and "discovered," and the ministry of defense seemed to condone it all: this was war, after all. Even Col. Picquart, head of military intelligence, found himself transferred to Algeria when he found the forgeries and tried to prove that Dreyfus was innocent.

Brown tries hard to seem scrupulously fair. However he appears to have skipped some basic research. For example: he tells us that Dreyfus's handwriting bore no resemblance to the script on the "bordereau" (the original incriminating document that got Dreyfus sent to Devil's Island). But really the two hands look very much alike. As indeed they also resemble the handwriting of Major Esterhazy,the "real" spy. Anyone can compare samples in various places on the internet, but you won't find them reproduced here. This is a glaring omission. It was these handwriting samples that convicted Dreyfus. You really have to see how closely they resemble each other to understand how anyone believed in poor old Dreyfus's guilt in the first place.

3-0 out of 5 stars Clericalism, Cannonades and Canals
The genius of Fredrick Brown's //For the Soul of France//, an account of the rise of secularism in Catholic France, may be lost on the average reader. The turbulence of the religious, political and social upheaval following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 is reflected in Brown's equally turbulent prose. Whether you applaud Brown's scholarship or deplore his literary style may depend on your experience with contemporary erudite composition. For some, this emperor has no clothes; for others, he is uniquely avant-garde.

Brown's book, written in an amalgam of French and English words and phrases, is congested with the people, places, factions and events that culminated in the conviction of Alfred Dreyfuss in 1894 and then his exoneration in 1900. Among France's responses to change are the erection of extravagant civil monuments like the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Coeur basilica; a failed attempt to construct the Panama Canal; and our own Statue of Liberty, which Brown deftly weaves into the fluid French political climate.

The hardback is beautifully designed, with 31 illustrations, a chronology and an exhaustive index. The exceptional thoroughness of Brown's research makes the book an excellent reference source.

Reviewed by Sheli Ellsworth

5-0 out of 5 stars For the soul of France
This book written by Frederick Brown is in my opinion of very high value. It describes the situation and the mentality prevalent during the years 1800/1900. where France was allready pritty well bankrupt, but still ready to embark on any other war with Germany. One could say, what else is new, but the mere fact that England and the USA were willing to join and created the basis for WW11 is of major interest. Even today we see the results of the desisions in the Treaty of Versailes that followed the war of 1914 /18, that in principle was a part of the thingking at the time. Do not be surprised to see no difference with the leaders of today ... Read more

14. The Family on Trial in Revolutionary France (Studies on the History of Society and Culture)
by Suzanne Desan
Paperback: 474 Pages (2006-06-19)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$17.50
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Asin: 0520248163
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In a groundbreaking book that challenges many assumptions about gender and politics in the French Revolution, Suzanne Desan offers an insightful analysis of the ways the Revolution radically redefined the family and its internal dynamics. She shows how revolutionary politics and laws brought about a social revolution within households and created space for thousands of French women and men to reimagine their most intimate relationships. Families negotiated new social practices, including divorce, the reduction of paternal authority, egalitarian inheritance for sons and daughters alike, and the granting of civil rights to illegitimate children. Contrary to arguments that claim the Revolution bound women within a domestic sphere, The Family on Trial maintains that the new civil laws and gender politics offered many women unexpected opportunities to gain power, property, or independence.
The family became a political arena, a practical terrain for creating the Republic in day-to-day life. From 1789, citizens across France--sons and daughters, unhappily married spouses and illegitimate children, pamphleteers and moralists, deputies and judges--all disputed how the family should be reformed to remake the new France. They debated how revolutionary ideals and institutions should transform the emotional bonds, gender dynamics, legal customs, and economic arrangements that structured the family. They asked how to bring the principles of liberty, equality, and regeneration into the home. And as French citizens confronted each other in the home, in court, and in print, they gradually negotiated new domestic practices that balanced Old Regime customs with revolutionary innovations in law and culture. In a narrative that combines national-level analysis with a case study of family contestation in Normandy, Desan explores these struggles to bring politics into households and to envision and put into practice a new set of familial relationships. ... Read more

15. France - the culture (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures)
by Greg Nickles
Paperback: 32 Pages (2000-03)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$12.95
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Asin: 0865053235
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For the last 300 years, French culture has influenced the world from politics and art to fashion and cuisine.France the culture celebrates these and other important cultural aspects of France including religion, festivals, science, language, and literature. ... Read more

16. Equal in Monastic Profession: Religious Women in Medieval France (Women in Culture and Society Series)
by Penelope D. Johnson
Paperback: 310 Pages (1994-02-08)
list price: US$31.00 -- used & new: US$25.00
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Asin: 0226401863
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In this study of the manner in which medieval nuns lived, Penelope Johnson challenges facile stereotypes of nuns living passively under monastic rule, finding instead that collectively they were empowered by their communal privileges and status to think and act without many of the subordinate attitudes of secular women.In the words of one abbess comparing nuns with monks, they were "different as to their sex but equal in their monastic profession."

Johnson researched more than two dozen nunneries in northern France from the eleventh century through the thirteenth century, balancing a qualitative reading of medieval monastic documents with a quantitative analysis of a lengthy thirteenth-century visitation record which allows an important comparison of nuns and monks.A fascinating look at the world of medieval spirituality, this work enriches our understanding of women's role in premodern Europe and in church history. ... Read more

17. Teach Yourself World Cultures: France
by Celia Dixie
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-08-29)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$12.94
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Asin: 0071444319
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A fascinating and comprehensive exploration of France

Perfect for everyone from general readers to students to recreational or business travelers, the Teach Yourself World Cultures series explores language, history, art, politics, economics, cuisine, and much more. Each book in the series lists useful addresses, websites, and points of interest. Mixing historical information with travel tips, Teach Yourself World Cultures books are both educational and entertaining.

Teach Yourself World Cultures: France provides:

*A balanced and comprehensive overview of the nation--from geography to political history to the workplace environment of today
*Valuable information on the people and their customs
*Practical vocabulary and language tips for the traveler
*Recipes for common dishes of the region ... Read more

18. Culture Shock! Paris: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Culture Shock! at Your Door)
by Frances Gendlin
Paperback: 370 Pages (2007-09-15)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.32
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Asin: 0761454136
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With over three million copies in print, CultureShock! is a dynamic and indispensable range of guides covering countless destinations around the world. The series is especially intended for travellers who are looking to truly understand the countries they are visiting and who might even consider residing there. Each title contains invaluable advice for the traveller to adapt seamlessly into the local environment and is packed with useful details on transportation, taxes, accommodation, health, shopping and festivals. Additionally, each book provides concise insights into the history, language, cuisine and business practises of each country, as well as explaining the customs, traditions and social etiquette in a lively and informative style. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK
I think its a great book for anyone planning on living in Paris.This has more information than any book I've seen. For a visitor planning to stay for a few days, there is probably others that arebetter but for someone who is planning to work or study in Paris this is fantastique!

3-0 out of 5 stars great idea; maybe not enough for a book
what a great idea -- this is needed if you don't want to be an ugly american.i read it and our week in paris was full of only great experiences.my only criticism is that there really isn't enough material to fill a book.My summary:The French are private so you should take cues from them if you want to fit in.Note, for example, how quiet people are in public places, especially on the metro and buses (tangent: the RATP site has great interactive metro and bus maps) and how they don't make eye contact the way americans do.Note they also greet each other with a title when entering a store or beginning a transaction ("Bon Jour, Monsieur," not just "Bon jour") ... Read more

19. Differential Diagnoses: A Comparative History of Health Care Problems and Solutions in the United States and France (The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work)
by Paul V. Dutton
Paperback: 253 Pages (2008-12)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$13.44
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Asin: 0801474841
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Although the United States spends 16 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, more than 46 million people have no insurance coverage, while one in four Americans report difficulty paying for medical care. Indeed, the U.S. health care system, despite being the most expensive health care system in the world, ranked thirty-seventh in a comprehensive World Health Organization report. With health care spending only expected to increase, Americans are again debating new ideas for expanding coverage and cutting costs. According to the historian Paul V. Dutton, Americans should look to France, whose health care system captured the World Health Organization's number-one spot.

In Differential Diagnoses, Dutton debunks a common misconception among Americans that European health care systems are essentially similar to each other and vastly different from U.S. health care. In fact, the Americans and the French both distrust "socialized medicine." Both peoples cherish patient choice, independent physicians, medical practice freedoms, and private insurers in a qualitatively different way than the Canadians, the British, and many others.

The United States and France have struggled with the same ideals of liberty and equality, but one country followed a path that led to universal health insurance; the other embraced private insurers and has only guaranteed coverage for the elderly and the very poor. How has France reconciled the competing ideals of individual liberty and social equality to assure universal coverage while protecting patient and practitioner freedoms? What can Americans learn from the French experience, and what can the French learn from the U.S. example? Differential Diagnoses answers these questions by comparing how employers, labor unions, insurers, political groups, the state, and medical professionals have shaped their nations' health care systems from the early years of the twentieth century to the present day. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Buy! Seriously!!
This book came BEFORE the estimated date and was in the best conditioin possible! Buy from this seller!

4-0 out of 5 stars A useful comparison of the US and French systems
This is a useful book. Like another reviewer, I wish the author had included a more thorough description of the present French system. My understanding is that electronic medical records, to some extent at least, are embedded in the health care card carried by members. When they visit a doctor's office, a swipe of the card in the reader, conveys some information (I wish I knew how much) to the doctor's office record and, at the same time, deposits the Securite Sociale payment in his practice account. It is interesting to see how much the French have preserved the private fee-for-service system. The author decries this a bit, emphasizing the risk of excessive utilization in the fee-for-service system. That is definitely true but the prepaid system of the HMO has the mirror-image risk of denying service to reduce expense. Buyers of new home prepaid service plans know how difficult it can be to get the service technician to come out to fix the dishwasher when he has already been paid.

The parallel history format of the book is good and, while I am very familiar with the history of US health care, it was valuable to see the contrast with the French system. The unique circumstance that had a lot to do with the diversion of the French system from ours was the loss to Germany in 1940 and the subsequent period of Vichy rule. All the older structures of government and the hierarchy of the medical profession were upset and replaced by a diluted version of the Nazi regime. The 1944 invasion and liberation placed the De Gaulle organization in charge and it was very interesting to learn that health care reform was a concern of the Free French even during the period of exile from 1940 to 1944. Again, the intervention of President DeGaulle in 1960 to establish fixed fee schedules was new to me and makes the two chapters, numbers five and six, the best part of the book.

I have a few disagreements with the author. He is obviously an enthusiast for the failed Clinton Health Plan of 1994 but he ignores the principle reason why it failed. He is correct that union opposition has been a barrier to reform in both countries, prolonging the employment link to health insurance far beyond the time when it made sense. He does not inform the reader, however, that the secrecy and the failure to include any non-academic providers in the task force preparing the plan led to widespread distrust and opposition. Additionally, the criminal penalties attached to practice outside the Clinton cooperatives alienated physicians completely. Having said that, I generally support his history of the US system although Paul Starr's book is more complete. He does misstate the position of the American College of Surgeons on a national health plan for the US. I have been a member of the College since 1972 and it first testified in favor of a national health plan in 1938. The fierce opposition he describes as coming from the AMA (and he is correct) was always the position of general practitioners. The Resource Based Relative Value Scale that he describes as part of Medicare reform in the mid 1980s was less a parallel of the DRG system and more an attempt to de-emphasize highly technical care. It is a form of rationing by devaluing the most time consuming and skill dependent procedures in surgery. As a matter of government policy, it is certainly within the power of government to impose but it has been dishonestly described. The author, not being a physician, may not be aware of the history of that particular development.

I wish the details of the present French system had been more complete as it may offer a better alternative as we seek new ideas for health care reform. The history was well done and he knows his subject quite well, as I can judge from his description of the US system. I recommend it.

3-0 out of 5 stars A much needed work
Bring up anything French to most Americans, and one gets jokes, frowns, insults and other demeaning comments.Whether it be French fries, Americans winning the Tour de France, or French women, Americans tend to look down on France.This is regrettable, as many aspects of French history have paralleled events in American history.This book by Professor Dutton at the University of Arizona examines the evolution of the medical systems in France and America over the course of the 20th century.Specifically, the book looks at the economics and politics of health care in both countries; such as major laws and regulations, the role of third-party insurers, the role of employer-based health care, conflicts between doctors and hospitals, and the unending debate over private fee-for-service and socialized medicine.Surprisingly, the debates in the US on all these issues have paralleled those in France, often occurring in the same decade.The book is written in chronological order, and reads like a history book.The text is readable by those inside and outside the medical community, and requires almost no economic or medical knowledge to understand.Given the topic, this book is very good and informative, and quite unique in providing an in-depth comparison of two countries.

The book does have two drawbacks.First is the minimal coverage it gives of medical education in the two countries.This is very important, and might help the reader understand how paths have diverged in the two countries.Second, the book focuses almost entirely on doctors; little mention is made of nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and the vast community of scientists and supporting staff who are responsible for research and development.For these two drawbacks I give the book three stars, and not five.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent view of US and French health care
Another reader has already placed a very detailed review which I "second."Other than a few fixed ideas about Canadian or UK healthcare, most Americans, including those in Congress, health insurers, and doctors, know very very little about other European systems.We constantly hear that "all advanced nations but the US have broader health care" but no details."Differential Diagnoses" provides not only a current comparison of US and French systems, but their historical development over the century.So if this is the one book you read on history of US health care, that's good too.It would be great if a similar English language book on German health care was available.(A half dozen such books are found at www.amazon.de with the key word Gesundheitssystem.)This volume deserves to be widely read and really should be a must-read for those in health policy, whether academic, government, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars French Health Care: An Alternative Model to Single-Payer?
Once again with an upcoming election health care shows itself a major concern of the American people. Health care costs are soaring, the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured are increasing, over 50% of bankruptcies are due to medical expenses and employers are dropping coverage. Not only is our system the most expensive by far in the world; but the most complex and bureaucratic. Its costs affects the competitiveness of American firms on the world market and people often seek or retain jobs based on availability of health insurance rather than matching skills and interests, thus lowering productivity. Polls show the American people want change and see the Canadian single-payer system as a model. However, not too long ago the World Health Organization ranked the health care system of France as number 1 with the U.S. in 37th place, something unknown to most Americans until Michael Moore's recent film, Sicko.

So why not consider French health care as a possible system to model after rather than Canada ? For many, the answer is obvious. Americans would never tolerate "socialized" medicine. But is France 's health care "socialized medicine?" Paul V. Dutton's timely book answers this question with a resounding, NO! It turns out that no other country on the face of this earth has as similar 18th Century liberal values of individual freedoms and responsibility to those of the U.S. as France and it shows in their health care system. "Socialized Medicine" is for the French as anathema as it is to us. Yet France has managed to attain universal coverage, high quality medicine, and no waiting lines in a system of private fee-for-service medicine that Americans could only dream about and at lower cost. In their laws, basically etched in stone, are guarantees of individual choice of doctors and hospitals, medical decisions to be made between doctors and patients with no third party interference, strong protections for doctor-patient confidentiality, and direct payment of bills by patients. But isn't this exactly what the American medical profession has fought for over many years? This is the story that Dr. Dutton's book weaves in a well-written fascinating account of how two nations with similar values, especially within their respective medical professions developed their respective health care systems.

Certain key decisions sealed their respective fates. In France , the medical profession rather than fighting some form of government required universal health care, supported it with the strong proviso of legal guarantees that are the bedrock of their private fee-for-service system. In the U.S. , the medical profession fought tooth and nail against any government involvement developing instead the non-profit Blue Crosses and Shield's with community ratings and no exclusions due to pre-existing conditions. Only then did for-profit insurance companies enter the health care market, cherry picking healthy workers with offers of lower premiums to their employers, eventually forcing the Blue's to also adopt experiential ratings. The American medical professions exaggerated fears of government led to support for what has become our fragmented dysfunctional for-profit system. As has been said, American doctors' fear of socialism led to their being blind-sided by capitalism. As a result, Americans most often must choose their doctors based on which insurance company their employers have chosen, sometimes forced to change doctors each year as coverage changes, doctors have to battle with insurance company bureaucrats for approvals of diagnostic and surgical procedures, and so it goes.

One point that comes across clearly in Dr. Dutton's book is that our current health care system was not based on any plan or, for that matter, market model. Reading his book clearly indicates the opposite. For those mainly interested in the U.S. health care system and its development, this book is a must. A series of short-term decisions and serendipitous events, e.g. World War II, led to our currently dysfunctional costly system. However, as Dr Dutton's book clearly shows, looking and comparing the development of our system with another allows for much greater understanding and depth as well as a potential model for us.

Unfortunately, Dr. Dutton does not include a chapter actually devoted to describing the French health care system, but instead describes its development throughout the book. I hope that the next edition of his book will include such a chapter. In the meantime, I would urge him to write it and place it on his website.

I did find on the web a somewhat dated (2001) description of the French health care system by a British think tank, Civitas, "Health Care in France and Germany ," which can be found athttp://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cs17.pdf. However, it does not describe how drug prices are kept reasonable, how negotiations of doctors fees and hospital costs are conducted, how high tech is adopted, etc. But briefly, everyone who is employed in France belongs to one of several insurance "caisse" similar to our original Blue Crosses. Salaried employees belong to one, school teachers to another. The boards that govern these "caisse" are composed of representatives of government, employers, and workers. Rather than based on community ratings, they are funded by a dedicated percentage of paychecks similar to our Medicare tax, with employers and employees each contributing. The government pays the "Medicare tax" for those who are unemployed. As with Medicare, and the original Blues, a set fee structure is negotiated every year. This structure doesn't completely cover most care, so, as with Medicare, the French have a supplementary insurance that covers co-pays which can be purchased from either for-profit or not-for-profit companies. The choice of companies is completely up to the individual, but the premiums are taken out of the employee's paycheck as a percentage. Neither the French "caisse," nor the supplementary insurances can discriminate due to pre-existing conditions. Patients are required to pay normal doctor bills up front in keeping with the individual responsibility fee-for-service-system and are then reimbursed. Nowadays, for many, the monies are electronically placed in their respective bank accounts. Hospitals are paid directly, but patients are required to pay a minimum daily fee. However, as the seriousness or chronicity of the condition increases, co-pays are eliminated and patients aren't required to pay first and wait for reimbursement. By taking a fixed percentage based on pay and having everyone in the system, the complex costly actuarial process and multiple policies of the U.S. don't exist. Since all the "caisse" pay the same, billing is simplified.

I would like to share one little anecdote which I found both amusing and informative from the Civitas paper. They interviewed people about their experiences. One elderly woman complained about her hospital care. She had a private room in a modern equipped hospital with a choice of three entrees per meal. She could have chosen other hospitals, but she chose one close to her family. So what was her complaint? Personnel sometimes entered her PRIVATE room without knocking and she thought that was rude. Ah, if that was the only complaint one heard about our health care system!

So back to Dr. Dutton's book. For anyone interested in health care politics, health care reform, for insights into how our system developed, and for a possible model for reforming our system, Dr. Dutton's book is a fascinating read and a must!

... Read more

20. Changing Minds: The Shifting Perception of Culture in Eighteenth-Century France (The University of Delaware Studies in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Art and Culture)
by John C. O'Neal
 Hardcover: 273 Pages (2002-10)
list price: US$49.50 -- used & new: US$33.54
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Asin: 0874137888
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

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