Preface to the 2001 edition This third edition of Les Francais has been written, like the previous two editions, to help American students better understand the French people. It is designed for students who have an intermediate- or advanced-level command of the French language. It assumes an interest in French culture on the part of the reader, but no previous knowledge of it. The basic structure and approach of the 1970 and 1995 editions have been kept. The text As been updated. A chapter on the European Union has been added. Some illustrations are new. A selection of useful "gateway" web sites has also been added. Statistical data have been kept to a minimum as they become quickly outdated and often do not mean much to students, especially if no corresponding data from their own country are supplied. Unless specified, statistical data included in this book were drawn from Quid 2000 and Fancoscopie 1999. A set of questionnaires and suggestions for assignments is provided for each chapter at the end of the book; instructors may use them as needed. Many textbooks on French culture put excessive emphasis on the present, assuming that only l'actualite will elicit students' interest. Les Francais does not follow that path. We believe that focusing exclusively on present-day France prevents students from truly understanding it. Adults who live in France today were not educated in French schools in 2000, but in 1930, 1950, 1970, or 1990. To understand what made them who they are, it is more illuminating to look at school textbooks of 10 or 20 years ago than at today's textbooks. In order to provide a depth of perspective, we have given much attention to the historical roots of French behavior and institutions as well as to the sweeping changes that have taken place within French society during the last four decades. Many textbooks on French culture also fail to provide a comparative outlook, making it difficult for students to see where France and the French stand in relation to their own country and to themselves. This new edition, as the previous ones, emphasizes comparisons between French and American cultures. Jean-Franfois Briere Preface to the 1995 edition When I was growing up in southern Indiana in the 1920s, we lived in one small town after another because my father was a Methodist minister. We assumed that since we had the habit of living in different groups of people we would be able to get along with all kinds of people anywhere we might live. Then in 1929 I left Indiana University to spend a year in France. What a revelation it was to live in the midst of a people who behaved so differently and thought so differently from the folks back home in Indiana! Then when I graduated in 1931 and had to get a job to support myself, I found there were no jobs to be had! We were in the midst of The Great Depression. Unexpectedly the Romance Languages Department at Indiana had a vacancy and offered me the job teaching Beginning French for five hours a week at $1,000 a semester if I started working for an M.A. at the same time. I eagerly accepted. Why not? I had never thought I would be a teacher, but after I began to teach I discovered I really enjoyed the experience. So I have spent the rest of my life teaching. But then gradually as I became used to this profession I realized I was not so interested in studying and teaching language itself as in helping people understand other people of different cultures get along together. Then finally I discovered that my own experience in France helped me. I began to ask myself why I had found that the French people act so differently from the folks I had considered normal people back in southern Indiana? In fact, by that time I lived in New England and began to ask the same question about the difference between Hoosiers and NewWylie, Laurence is the author of 'Les Francais', published 2000 under ISBN 9780130307743 and ISBN 0130307742.