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Author Jonathan Fenby

on Tour

August 4-8, 2014


France on the Brink banner

France on the Brink:
A Great Civilization in the New Century


 Release date: July 1, 2014
at Skyhorse Publishing

448 pages

ISBN: 978-1628723175



France on the Brink was chosen as a New York Times book of the year and hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “a comprehensive and entertaining diagnosis of what ails French society” when the first edition was published at the turn of the century. Since then, the crisis enveloping France has only worsened, and this second edition, completely revamped to cover the developments of the past fifteen years, offers a fresh assessment of where the nation stands. New chapters chart political developments under Presidents Chirac, Sarkozy, and Hollande; the rise of the hard right National Front; and the unrelenting economic woes that have led to unprecedented levels of disillusion and fragmentation. In this new edition, Fenby offers a loving though candid and unvarnished picture of the nation, contrasting its glorious past with current realities.[provided by the publisher]


Jonathan Fenby  reported from France for a variety of newspapers, including the Economist, Christian Science Monitor, Times of London, Guardian, and London Observer. Married to a Frenchwoman, he was, to his surprise, made a Chevalier of the French Order of Merit in 1990. He is also the author of acclaimed biographies of Charles de Gaulle and Chiang Kai-shek, among other works. He lives in England.

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Book Nerd:

 If anyone is looking to learn and read about the current situation of french life this is a must read.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned much more than I had expected.

Words And Peace

VERDICT: Enjoying the beach in Southern France is fine. If you want to go deeper and start understanding the current social, economic, and political situation of that country, this is THE book you need to read.

An Accidental Blog

Author Jonanthan Fenby writes that the problem with the French is “They cling to the past and present, but want a different future.”
After reading Fenby’s On The Brink, it’s clear that even a Frenchman, or anyone intimately acquainted with the Hexagon’s politics and history, would nod in agreement.
“Brink” begins as a political science textbook but it’s soon apparent the author is preparing you to try to understand a “very special place.”

Doing Dewey

The author did a fantastic job showing how history has shaped the French and encapsulating the difficulties their country faces with fascinating anecdotes and just enough optimism.

Booksie’s Blog

Readers interested in France will find much of interest in this work… This book is recommended for history readers and those interested in the world around them.