France

By Charles Trueheart

Top ten works of nonfiction as of October 2, 2005, from IPSOS, France's leading polling organization.

1. Confessions of a Baby-Boomer, by Thierry Ardisson with Philippe Kieffer. A media personality looks back with wistful cynicism on his hurtle through fame, money, sex and drugs, depression, self-mutilation … and back again.

2. Manufacturing Cretins: The Inevitable Death of School, by Jean-Paul Brighelli. How does the French educational system (nickname: the Mammoth) turn out dysfunctional French people? Let us count the ways.

3. Confessions, by Patrick Poivre d'Arvor with Serge Raffy. "PPDA"—for twenty-five years France's most-watched, best-loved, oft-loathed television newsreader—tells all.

4. Love in the Blood, by Charlotte Valandrey. A French film star recounts the hidden life she has led since 1987, when she learned she was HIV-positive.

5. For the Love of Massoud, by Sediqa Massoud. The mujahid who loved me—a memoir by the widow of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban guerrilla who was assassinated two days before 9/11.

6. What Do You Learn in Pre-School? French Ministry of National Education. A user's guide to the Mammoth—by the Mammoth.

7. What Do You Learn in Elementary School? French Ministry of National Education. More from the Mammoth.

8. French Literature for Dummies, by Jean-Joseph Julaud. The French incarnation of the popular American book series.

9. Chirac Stands Accused, by Denis Jeambar. A seasoned journalist puts the president of France in the dock to answer for a political lifetime of corruption, hypocrisy, and spinelessness.

10. The Diary of Yalda, by Yalda Rahimi with Marion Ruggieri. A seventeen-year-old Afghan girl's bittersweet journey to Paris and a new life.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/12/france/304391/