The Last Great Frenchman: A Life of General De Gaulle / Edition 1

The Last Great Frenchman: A Life of General De Gaulle / Edition 1

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by Charles Williams
     
 

ISBN-10: 0471117110

ISBN-13: 9780471117117

Pub. Date: 03/20/1995

Publisher: Wiley

THE LAST GREAT FRENCHMAN

"I am France," General Charles de Gaulle announced when he formed the Free French in 1941. It was no idle boast. Following France's rapid capitulation to Nazi forces, de Gaulle alone stood for a France undefeated and still fighting. Through sheer force of will, he made himself heard, rescuing French dignity and insuring that at the end of

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Overview

THE LAST GREAT FRENCHMAN

"I am France," General Charles de Gaulle announced when he formed the Free French in 1941. It was no idle boast. Following France's rapid capitulation to Nazi forces, de Gaulle alone stood for a France undefeated and still fighting. Through sheer force of will, he made himself heard, rescuing French dignity and insuring that at the end of World War II France would be among the victorious armies, her status as a world power recognized.

It was an immense achievement, one that only a man of de Gaulle's raw nerve, stubbornness, arrogance, and messianic conviction could have accomplished. Though he had virtually no resources and commanded only a few thousand men, he insisted that Britain and America treat France as an equal. His relationship with Churchill was stormy in the extreme but based on a strong mutual admiration; with Roosevelt his relationship was icy. Nonetheless he achieved his goal: France took her place among the Big Five nations in the postwar world. The man who had been sentenced to death as a traitor by the Vichy government returned to France in 1944 a hero and a legend, soon to be elected president.

In 1946 de Gaulle shocked the world by resigning. When he stepped back into the political arena twelve years later, it was to once again save a France in crisis. With the adroit maneuvering of a political mastermind he extricated France from Algeria and pulled the country back from the brink of civil war. He barely escaped with his life, surviving numerous assassination attempts by French-Algerians angered by his apparent betrayal. De Gaulle's second presidency lasted ten years until 1968, when student-led revolts toppled his government, but his extraordinary legacy endured in France's most effective constitution since the Revolution, and in international prestige that would have been unthinkable in the previous decade.

Charles de Gaulle died in November 1970, a few days before his eightieth birthday. He was a product of northern French provincial society of the nineteenth century— austere, Catholic, and nationalist—truly the "last great Frenchman." In this fully rounded portrait of one of the twentieth century's most outstanding statesmen, Charles Williams interprets the facts and the motives of his subject with the insights of the distinguished politician he is himself.

Charles Williams's deft analysis opens a window on the enigma at the core of de Gaulle's character—a private man who was affectionate and emotional, a public man who was cold, ruthless, proud, yet undeniably great. The result is a masterful chronicle that takes a fast-paced and defining look at the life and times of one of the twentieth century's most important figures.

Praise for Charles Williams's

The Last Great Frenchman

"An excellent new biography . . . . Charles Williams has matched a great subject with something near to a great book . . . . A fine portrait of a formidable subject." - Daily Telegraph (London)

"Very well told indeed . . . . Marvelous vignettes . . . . Williams tells his story with pace and skill."- Martin Gilbert in The Guardian (London)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471117117
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
03/20/1995
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
1,094,325
Product dimensions:
1.25(w) x 6.14(h) x 9.21(d)

Table of Contents

Partial table of contents:
CHILD.
A Parisian Boy from Lille.
The Steps of St Ignatius.
SOLDIER.
The Army of the Republic.
A War to End Wars.
Polish Interlude.
Petain's Chicken.
A Toe in Political Waters.
The Cut of the Sickle.
Is He a New Napoleon?
EXILE.
Laying the Corner Stone.
Afric's Sunny Fountains.
Who is Fighting Whom?
The Eagle and the Bear Join the Party.
Resistance on All Fronts.
Mediterranean Storms.
The Darlan Deal.
From Anfa to Algiers.
Waiting for Overlord.
HERO.
A Parisian Summer.
Government Must Govern.
POLITICIAN.
With Peace Comes Politics.
The Gamble that Failed.
PHILOSOPHER.
A Certain Idea of France.
On Public and Private Life.
HEAD OF STATE.
The New Agenda.
Baiting Uncle Sam.
The Ides of May.
Epilogue: Return to Colombey.
Notes.
Select Bibliography.
Acknowledgements.
Index.

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The Last Great Frenchman; A Life of General de Gaulle 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually read this book when it was first published and noticed the other day that it is missing - so I am thinking of buying another copy as I want to read it again prior to a trip to France. DeGaulle was a young officer in the WWI and survived in large part because he was captured, no killed, at Verdun. His large family was also so blessed, they were the rare exception, they lost no sons in that war. After the war he continued his military career and observed the Polish / Russian war in 1920 - a war of movement. So he was one of the few, if only, French army officers who understood blitzkrieg when the Germans attacked in 1940. He lead is armored unit is a lightning counter attack that penetrated deeply into German held northern France - but it was totally unsupported to he eventually made it to England. His break with Vichy is well documented - few heard his first radio message as the leader of the Free French - but his message of 'ecout, ecout' never the less eventually resounded. He was also an insufferable egotist - but also a loving father who always found at least 1 hour of every day to play with his Downs Syndrome daughter. And after the war, he and Adenaur made a historic raprochmont between Germany and France that was the basis of the EU.