A Distinctly French America

Ever since Alexis de Toqueville’s famous American road trip, French writers have been obsessed with deciphering America. French author Bernard-Henri Lévy has spent much of the past couple of years traveling the U.S. in an effort to get a read on the world’s most powerful nation that would ring true to both Americans and Europeans. But one of America’s foremost cultural assessors, the author and radio host Garrison Keillor, has some serious bones to pick with Lévy’s methods, and with his conclusions. “You meet Sharon Stone and John Kerry and a woman who once weighed 488 pounds and an obese couple carrying rifles, but there’s nobody here whom you recognize. [Eventually,] it dawns on you that this is a book about the French.”