France is the most-visited country in the world. It attracts millions of tourists, most of whom come in search of beautiful architecture, good food, and fine art. But appearances can be deceptive. France is not only a place of culture and glamour; it also carries the bitter memories of violence, division and broken promises. In this arresting book, Emile Chabal, a leading specialist of contemporary France, tells the story of a paradoxical country. From the calamitous defeat by Hitler's armies in 1940 to the spectacular gilets jaunes protests, he explores the contradictions that have shaped French history over the last eighty years. The picture that emerges is one of a nation struggling to reconcile its core political values with the realities of a diverse society.