Trente Glorieuses

How crime writer Jean Meckert captured the grim mood of postwar France

Culture-Idées — Analysis

The late novelist, crime writer and screenwriter Jean Meckert, who sometimes wrote under the name Jean Amila, chronicled society in post-war France in a series of articles for a weekly publication. Many of these have now been collected in a book called 'Chez les anarchistes'. Written between 1946 and 1956, they reveal a downtrodden mood in parts of French society that was far removed from the high hopes that Liberation had brought at the end of World War II. They also show an author who was wearied by events but never resigned to them, and whose humour and energy outshone any disillusion. Sébastien Omont of the online literary review En attendant Nadeau explores Meckert's post-war articles.

French society is doomed to collapse, says academic

France — Analysis

In a recent book sociologist Louis Chauvel claims that, faced with a continued deepening of inequalities, French society is heading towards silent but nonetheless rapid and brutal collapse. The academic says that, rather like the aristocrats of Ancient Rome who did not see the fall of their empire coming, today's elites are blind to the fact that society as it stands is doomed. Joseph Confavreux examines the arguments in a book which at times feels like a memoir from beyond the grave.

The myth of France's 'glorious' post-war years


In a bid to regain its lost competitive advantage on the world stage, France has just set out an ambitious plan for revitalising its industrial base. Coincidentally a recently-published book takes a critical look at the real costs of the country's last drive to modernise, during the so-called 'Thirty Glorious Years' of the post-war period. Its authors argue that, contrary to received wisdom, human and environmental concerns were sacrificed on the altar of an all-out quest for productivity during that period, while dissenting voices were silenced. Joseph Confavreux reviews the book.