This is a history of the French, which attempts to explain their idiosyncrasies, enthusiasms, and prejudices. It goes beyond a mere recital of events to investigate the attitudes and behavior over an unusually wide range of activities. The first part scrutinizes the peculiar way of thinking and of talking adopted by the French and their ambivalent feelings about foreigners. It shows what it meant to be a Breton or a Provencal, an Alsatian, or an Auvergnat. The second part analyzes French taste and the role of the artist. It enquires into the quality of life, the French view of happiness, friendship and comfort, humor, reactions to scientific progress, compromises with corruption, and superstition. This survey is a major reinterpretation of France's achievement as a nation and of the individual experiences of the French. It has taken its place as one of the great works of scholarship on modern France.