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Nixon’s Greatest Moments

R.W. Johnson, 13 May 1993

Nixon: A Life 
by Jonathan Aitken.
Weidenfeld, 633 pp., £25, January 1993, 0 297 81259 9
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... defeat by Kennedy, many wrote him off; someone who never did was that shrewdest of judges, Charles deGaulle, who repeatedly startled American visitors by predicting that Nixon was bound to become President, that he had a date with destiny. Aitken records this fact but seems not to understand it. ...


Ben Ehrenreich: At the Calais Jungle, 17 March 2016

... Most of the refugees gathered in the Jungle, a ten-minute drive from the bronze statue of Charles deGaulle and his wife on the place d’Armes in the centre of Calais, have fled countries where in recent years the French and British have dispatched troops or bombed from the air. Others have escaped from ...

Mon Pays

Michael Rogin: Josephine Baker, 22 February 2001

The Josephine Baker Story 
by Ean Wood.
Sanctuary, 327 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 1 86074 286 6
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Negrophilia: Avant-Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s 
by Petrine Archer-Straw.
Thames and Hudson, 200 pp., £14.95, September 2000, 0 500 28135 1
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... monkey to modern woman), Kurt Weill and Max Reinhardt, E.E. Cummings and Janet Flanner, Sartre and de Beauvoir. Alexander Calder’s wire caricature of her (it seems to move on the page of Petrine Archer-Straw’s book) was the prototype for his subsequent mobiles. ‘I never saw anybody move the way she did. She was part kangaroo and part prizefighter. A ...

Love that Bird

Francis Spufford: Supersonic, 6 June 2002

... the machines people build for more everyday tasks. Even now, when the carparks at Heathrow and Charles deGaulle are filled with sleek creations, art-directed to the max by Mercedes and Renault to convey futurity, Concorde still looks as if a crack has opened in the fabric of the Universe and a message from tomorrow ...
A Les Trósors Retrouvós de la ‘Revue des deux Mondes’ 
edited by Jeanne Causse and Bruno de Cessole.
Maisonneuve, 582 pp., frs 185, January 1999, 2 7068 1353 9
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La Guerre d’Algórie par les Documents. Vol. II: Les Portes de la Guerre, 10 Mars 1946 à 31 Dócembre 1954 
edited by Jean-Charles Jauffret.
Service Historique de l’Armóe de Terre, 1023 pp., September 1998, 2 86323 113 8
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De Gaulle et L’Algóerie: Mon Tómoinage 1960-62 
by Jean Morin.
Albin Michel, 387 pp., frs 140, January 1999, 2 226 10672 3
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... the conclusion of the war: was it inevitable that it would end in independence (supposedly de Gaulle’s own belief)? To answer these questions we need access to contemporary documents, and the Service Historique de l’Armée de Terre (created by Louvois in 1668), which had ...

Were we bullied?

Jamie Martin: Bretton Woods, 21 November 2013

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White and the Making of a New World Order 
by Benn Steil.
Princeton, 449 pp., £19.95, February 2013, 978 0 691 14909 7
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... would give the US the privilege of being indebted to the world ‘free of charge’, as Charles deGaulle later put it, but would work only as long as the US saw maintaining gold convertibility as working in its national interest. Harry Dexter White apparently hadn’t envisaged a scenario in which it ...

Danger: English Lessons

R.W. Johnson: French v. English, 16 March 2017

Power and Glory: France’s Secret Wars with Britain and America, 1945-2016 
by R.T. Howard.
Biteback, 344 pp., £20, October 2016, 978 1 78590 116 4
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... In​ his monumental biography of De Gaulle, Jean Lacouture describes a meeting of the Free French in London in 1941 at which several of the younger members expressed their admiration for Churchill. In response De Gaulle warned them ‘never to forget that within him breathes the soul of Pitt ...

Reasons of State

R.W. Johnson, 5 June 1986

The ‘Rainbow Warrior’ Affair 
by Richard Shears and Isobelle Gidley.
Allen and Unwin, 215 pp., £2.95, January 1986, 0 04 900041 1
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Sink the ‘Rainbow’: An Inquiry into the Greenpeace Affair 
by John Dyson.
Gollancz, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 9780575038561
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La Piscine: Les Services Secrets Français 1944-1984 
by R. Faligot and P. Krop.
Seuil, 431 pp., March 1985, 9782020087438
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... Gaullist network, and Mitterrand, then in London, worked closely with Jacques Foccart – later De Gaulle’s spy chief and bête noire of the Left – on the romantic but generally disastrous mission to parachute agents into occupied Europe ahead of the Allied armies in order to liberate French deportees from the camps. So many agents were killed to ...

Quibbling, Wrangling

Jeremy Waldron: How to draft a constitution, 12 September 2019

Revolutionary Constitutions: Charismatic Leadership and the Rule of Law 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Harvard, 457 pp., £25.95, May 2019, 978 0 674 97068 7
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... movement decided to negotiate before he had won.’ But when Nelson Mandela’s ANC and F.W. de Klerk’s ruling white National Party sat down at Kempton Park in April 1993 to begin what was called the Multi-Party Negotiation Process (MPNP), representatives of 24 other parties sat down with them, each with its own agenda. All were highly suspicious of ...

Who invented Vercingétorix?

Julian Jackson: French national identity, 27 June 2002

Rethinking France: Les Lieux de mémoire. Volume I: The State 
by Pierre Nora, translated by Mary Trouille.
Chicago, 475 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 226 59132 8
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... to remember); that Philip Augustus was a good king because he beat the Germans; that Catherine de Médicis was a bad woman because she killed so many Protestants; that Henri IV wanted every peasant to have a chicken in the pot on Sundays. The children learnt all this from their primary school textbook, popularly known as the ‘Petit Lavisse’. It offered ...

I need money

Christian Lorentzen: Biden Tries Again, 10 September 2020

Yesterday’s Man: The Case against Joe Biden 
by Branko Marcetic.
Verso, 288 pp., £12.99, March 2020, 978 1 83976 028 0
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... of the Western allies and the substantial egos of Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Charles deGaulle, Field Marshal Montgomery and General Patton. Dad thought Eisenhower was a man with ballast, a leader. But the Finnegans wanted to argue Ike’s policies.Note the trace of red-baiting in the bit about the ...

Who’s best?

Douglas Johnson, 27 September 1990

The Rise and Fall of Anti-Americanism: A Century of French Perception 
edited by Denis Lacorne, Jacques Rupnik and Marie-France Toinet, translated by Gerald Turner.
Macmillan, 258 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 333 49025 8
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... not been revealed, it was widely known that Roosevelt had been a friend to Vichy and an enemy to de Gaulle, that he had hoped to establish some sort of American provisional government in France, which would issue its own currency. He had treated France not as an ally but as a vassal. The American commander responsible for the Paris region had even tried ...

A City of Sand and Puddles

Julian Barnes: Paris, 22 April 2010

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris 
by Graham Robb.
Picador, 476 pp., £18.99, April 2010, 978 0 330 45244 1
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The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps 
by Eric Hazan, translated by David Fernbach.
Verso, 384 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84467 411 4
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... non-form.) More practically, I bought Paris à pied – published by the Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre – after discovering from a browse that there is a red and yellow waymarked path running west-east across Paris, that the GR1 crossed the Bois de Boulogne and the GR14 and 14A the Bois ...

‘J’accuse’: Dreyfus in Our Times

Jacqueline Rose: A Lecture, 10 June 2010

... political rage. Can passion be stronger than power? Do we want it to be? Imagine now the Palais de Justice in Paris in February 1898. Emile Zola has been charged with libelling the army in his famous letter, which we know today under the title ‘J’accuse’ (it was a stroke of genius of the editor of L’Aurore, the left-wing paper in which it ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... will never end in success. And yet Blair has been known to speak admiringly of the way in which De Gaulle extricated France from Algeria, overcoming the ferocious resistance of the Army, Air Force, more than a million French settlers and many other elements of the French establishment. It is worth recalling that ...

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