Imagine a country where people work 35-hour weeks, take seven weeks of paid holidays a year, have the best health system, the longest life expectancy and the fifth richest economy in the world. This country is France. Now imagine a country where citizens have so little civic sense they never give to charity; a country where a quarter of the work force is employed by the government, and where people expect the State to do everything. That country is France, too.

From a distance, modern France looks like a riddle. Up close, it all makes sense. In Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, Jean- Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow show how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Decrypting French ideas about land, food, privacy and language, they explain how France literally grew out of its soil. From centralization and the Napoleonic code, to elite education and street protests, the authors explain all the pieces that make up modern France.

Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong takes readers on a journey through the French psyche. Roaming across France from their Paris base, the authors take readers as far as the Caribbean territory of Guadeloupe. They hike, wine and dine, visit the mosques of Paris, follow labor protests in Marseilles and talk to ordinary and extraordinary French men and women to understand what makes the French tick, and where their country is headed.

Approaching France like a pair of anthropologists, the authors use anecdotes and observations, history, political analysis and humor to explain the links between the French national character and the French state. The result is a compelling, fresh take on a country everyone thinks they understand.