I was hoping for a book which would help me understand French manners so that I can avoid being accidentally rude when I go to France. Instead I got a load of (often seemingly made up) anecdotes and xenophobia.
My suspicion was raised about the potentially xenophobic tone of this book where in the introduction, a paragraph on recent terrorist attempts in France was followed by the non-sequitur "There are five million muslims in France", a bizarre statement to end the paragraph, suggesting that they are all somehow involved in these plots.
The book then continues to make sweeping generalisations about the French themselves, rather than their culture and manners (eg all the French like theatrics - really?), and gives general anecdotes - many of which, if I'm honest, sound completely made up (eg going to a computer store to get a presentation printed, and the assistant going from cold and rude to insisting that he redesign the whole thing for free because it is ugly - really???).
There are many faults:
* The tone of the book seems to be that somehow American immigrants are not the same as other immigrants to France, and can indeed be very condescending to people from other countries. The word "flooded" was used by one place and elsewhere a group of immigrants in an information office are described as "what seemed like the whole population of the Third World".
* All the information seems to come from anecdotal information from American businessmen. No French people seem to have been asked their opinions on how tourists and immigrants should behave, or any anthropological studies read. It reads like guesswork.
* There is very little consideration that the American approach to things may not be "the right way". It seems instead focus on how to bullishly con your way through French life rather than try to understand the mindset and work within their system.
The book is completely aimed at businessmen or people who plan to visit the author's friends. I can't see any one who likes French culture getting much out of it at all.