Fixing France

How to Repair a Broken Republic

October 2023 9781805260998 352 pp
Available as an eBook
EU Customers


France—the romanticised, revolutionary land of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity for all—is failing. Reform is urgently needed. This book is a powerful indictment of the status quo, and a highly original perspective on the challenges to which the nation must rise.

Nabila Ramdani is not from the establishment elite: she is a marginalised insider, born and raised in a neglected Paris suburb. With unflinching clarity, she probes the fault lines of her struggling country, exposing the Fifth Republic as an archaic system which emerged from Algeria’s cataclysmic War of Independence.

Today, a monarchical President Macron shows little interest in democracy, while a far-right party founded by Nazi collaborators threatens to replace him. Segregation, institutionalised rioting, economic injustice, the debasement of women, a monolithic education system, deep-seated racial and religious discrimination, paramilitary policing, terrorism and extremism, and a duplicitous foreign policy all fuel the growing crisis.

Yet Ramdani offers real hope: the broken French Republic can, and must, be fixed.


Can France be fixed? Listen to Nabila Ramdani in conversation with Mehreen Khan, Economics Editor for The Times on the Intelligence Squared podcast (video recording available here):

‘[A] highly readable … blazing indictment of modern France … Ramdani’s criticism is heartfelt and justified.’ — The Sunday Times

‘Ramdani tackles head-on some taboo subjects.’ — The Times

Fixing France reads a lot like The People’s History of the United States, the national bestseller by historian Howard Zinn that presented the history of the United States from the perspective of the working classes and sidelined sectors of society.’ — The Connexion

‘Nabila Ramdani was born to write this book. She dissects this wonderful, vexing country that was the home of the Enlightenment—but which still needs a lot of enlightening.’ — Jon Sopel, former BBC Paris and Washington correspondent, and co-host of The News Agents

‘A timely and fresh perspective on a country that seems to have it all. Yet its citizens are angry and dissatisfied. Why? Ramdani provides some smart answers in this thought-provoking book.’ — Clive Myrie, BBC presenter and former Paris correspondent

‘Ramdani portrays a France that she knows intimately, highlighting her country’s contradictions with wit. Her book is extremely well-documented, and uncompromising yet hopeful. It provides France with an opportunity for some serious soul-searching.’ — Rokhaya Diallo, columnist, The Guardian

A conversation with Nabila Ramdani and Erin Ogunkeye at the American Library in Paris:

‘This deep dive into France’s frenetic politics provides us with an essential perspective.’ — Mark Stone, foreign correspondent, Sky News

‘Evocative and beautifully written, this is a thorough and thought-provoking analysis of modern France, and where it’s going wrong.’ — Sam Greenhill, chief reporter, Daily Mail

‘Forensically pierces through the mythologies of the Fifth Republic, combining socio-economic analysis, history, and Ramdani’s own encounters with some of the most powerful and polarising political figures in the country. A must-read for Francophiles and agitators alike.’ — Mehreen Khan, Economics Editor, The Times

‘Ramdani’s brave book bursts with questions about the country she loves. Few have made a stronger argument for tearing down the Fifth Republic and building a new France.’ — Keir Simmons, Chief International Correspondent, NBC News

‘There’s a massive gulf between France, the myth, and France, reality. And they are very different worlds indeed.’ Nabila Ramdani in conversation with New Lines magazine’s Faisal Al Yafai:

Fixing France is … certain to ruffle Gallic feathers, and likely many of those enamored with everything French.’ — The Diplomatic Courier

‘The author’s insights into France’s failings are penetrating… [She offers] sharp observations about how France’s enduring commitment to republican values provides a licence for many to pursue a divisive and neocolonial agenda behind the rhetoric of constitutional equality.’ — Labour Hub

‘For anyone with a love of France, Ramdani’s book will interest and provoke with its analysis of France’s problems and the challenges it faces to remedy them. The criticisms are sharp but delivered with insight and affection for her country.’ — Dominic Grieve, former Attorney General for England & Wales

“France in flames”: Nabila Ramdani discusses Fixing France at the Battle of Ideas festival:

‘Ramdani provides a damning analysis of the current state of the French Republic, with its rigid model of secular republican universalism bursting at the seams. With “colour-blind egalitarianism” ignoring very real forms of racial and religious discrimination, she writes that her country is failing – but optimistically paves the path towards a fairer and more cohesive France.’ ― CAP X

‘A timely and nuanced reflection upon the problems facing France—racism, polarisation, colonial amnesia, an elitist education system—and the solutions needed to fix them. Required reading for anyone wishing to grapple with the challenges facing the twenty-first century world.’ — Martin Evans, Professor of Modern European History, University of Sussex, and author of Algeria: France’s Undeclared War

‘France is the European country we think we know best, but Fixing France shines a light on the dark corners of one of Europe’s most complex, influential and fascinating nations. Thorough research, unique insight, and accessible, engaging writing.’ — Barbara Serra, British-Italian journalist and documentary filmmaker

‘France is ailing, struggling to reconcile age-old Republican ideals with the realities of twenty-first century society, and the resulting polarisation is toxic. Ramdani draws on personal experience, family history, and insightful analysis and commentary to suggest a diagnosis and provide meaningful remedies.’ — Dominic Thomas, Letessier Professor of French, University of California, Los Angeles

‘France is a society with many contradictions, especially in relation to colonialism, racism and identity. This absorbing and highly readable book skillfully captures and unravels the delusions under which many French still operate and, most importantly, offers avenues forward.’ — Jean Beaman, author of Citizen Outsider: Children of North African Immigrants in France 

‘An invaluable constructive critique of France in the last 70 years. This is an engaging and enlightening read.’ — Amy Hubbell PhD, Senior Lecturer in French, University of Queensland


Nabila Ramdani is a French author of Algerian descent who works as a journalist, academic and broadcaster. Nabila began her award-winning journalistic career in the BBC Paris Bureau. She has since broadcast for outlets including Sky News, Al Jazeera and CNN, and has written extensively for The GuardianThe Daily MailThe Washington Post and others. Educated at Paris VII University and the London School of Economics (LSE), Nabila has taught at the University of Oxford and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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