De la Culture en Amérique
By Frederic Martel
Editions Gallimard, 2006, 613 pages

Reviewed by François Clemenceau

This book has become a highly topical must-read among cognoscenti of the French-American relationship, especially anyone who pays attention to the special dimension of “cultural politics” in which the U.S. free-market approach contrasts with France’s tradition of state-run arts and culture. At a time of generational transition in France, Martel’s excursion on American culture with a view to influencing France – his title “On Culture in America” harkens back to Tocqueville’s “On Democracy in America”– has been respectfully noticed in American circles. The reception was more wary in France, where it has triggered a mixture of admiration for the author’s reporting and some controversy about the author’s message.

 

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