Fixing France

How to Repair a Broken Republic

Contributors

By Nabila Ramdani

Formats and Prices

Price

$30.00

Price

$39.00 CAD

Format

Format:

  1. Hardcover $30.00 $39.00 CAD
  2. ebook $18.99 $24.99 CAD

A French-Algerian journalist, born and brought up in a neglected Paris suburb, offers unique insight into crisis-ridden France from a very different perspective to the establishment elites

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. 
Request Desk/Exam Copy

  • "Fixing France is a sharp polemic—necessary, revelatory, mostly fair, always driving to the point. It is a book to be read straight through, leaving readers shocked, energized, and better informed at its end."
    Charles Emmerson, The Los Angeles Review of Books
  • ‘[A] highly readable … blazing indictment of modern France … Ramdani’s criticism is heartfelt and justified.’
    The Sunday Times (UK)
  • Fixing France reads a lot like The People’s History of the United States, the national bestseller by historian Howard Zinn that presented the history of the United States from the perspective of the working classes and sidelined sectors of society.”
    The Connexion
  • "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
  • “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)
  • “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
  • “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
  • “Overall, Fixing France provides a valuable overview of the problems facing France. It is accessible and engaging enough to appeal to lay readers while retaining the rigour to be used in educational settings. Moreover, the book possesses the merit of not only diagnosing problems, but proposing solutions, stimulating readerly reflection.”
     
    Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • “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
  • "The author’s insights into France’s failings are penetrating… [She offers] sharp observations about how France’s enduring commitment to republican values provides a licence for many to pursue a divisive and neocolonial agenda behind the rhetoric of constitutional equality."
    Labour Hub
  • "Ramdani provides a damning analysis of the current state of the French Republic, with its rigid model of secular republican universalism bursting at the seams. With “colour-blind egalitarianism” ignoring very real forms of racial and religious discrimination, she writes that her country is failing – but optimistically paves the path towards a fairer and more cohesive France."
    Cap X
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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
  • "Overall, Fixing France provides a valuable overview of the problems facing France. It is accessible and engaging enough to appeal to lay readers while retaining the rigour to be used in educational settings. Moreover, the book possesses the merit of not only diagnosing problems, but proposing solutions, stimulating readerly reflection."
    Dr Fraser McQueen, The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA)

On Sale
Sep 26, 2023
Page Count
352 pages
Publisher
PublicAffairs
ISBN-13
9781541703254

Nabila Ramdani

About the Author

Nabila Ramdani is a French-Algerian writer from Paris who works as an academic, journalist and broadcaster, mainly covering France and the Arab and Muslim World. She began her award-winning journalistic career in the BBC Bureau in Paris and has since written extensively for publications ranging from the Guardian to the Daily Mail and Washington Post, while broadcasting for outlets including Sky News, Al Jazeera, and CNN. Educated at Paris VII University, Nabila holds an MPhil in British and American History and Literature, and an Agrégation—France’s highest teaching qualification—in English. She also has an MPhil in International History, specializing in the Middle East and North Africa, from the London School of Economics (LSE). Nabila first lectured at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in the US, and then taught at Jesus College, Oxford University, in the UK. 

Learn more about this author