Books

the discovery

‘112 Gripes’ by Bodleian Library

American soldiers sent to France following World War II were issued a guide, “112 Gripes About the French,” published by the US government. Today the gripes still sound familiar: The French drink too much; they spend all their time at cafes, and so on. At one point, the guide states, “To say that the French are insincere is no more sensible than to say that Bostonians have an ‘inborn trait’ for baked beans.” Now in a new edition published by the Bodleian Library, “112 Gripes” is a reminder of just how difficult it is to dislodge cultural prejudices and stereotypes.

JAN GARDNER

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