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La Bête républicaine

Christopher Prendergast, 5 September 1996

The Dreyfus Affair: ‘J’Accuse’ and Other Writings 
by Emile Zola, edited by Alain Pagès, translated by Eleanor Levieux.
Yale, 208 pp., £25, June 1996, 0 300 06689 9
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Zola: A Life 
by Frederick Brown.
Farrar, Straus, 888 pp., £37.50, May 1996, 0 374 29742 8
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... to open up to the ‘public’ what successive governments – in particular, the regime of François Mitterrand – have kept under wraps as France’s dirty secret: the archives of French collaboration in the Holocaust.) Moreover, in so far as the monster was the progeny of the union of chauvinism and race, there is the vexed matter of the ...


Edward Said: Reflections on the Hebron Massacre, 7 April 1994

... relationship with France and Britain, and Mr Arafat’s lunches and dinners with John Major and François Mitterrand. One also wonders how, with so excellent ‘a friend in the White House’, Mr Arafat never thought to put the security of his own people at the very top of his wish list. All this is the result of the negotiators’ ignorance and lack ...

Head over heart for Europe

Peter Pulzer, 21 March 1991

Ever Closer Union: Britain’s Destiny in Europe 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hutchinson, 96 pp., £7.99, January 1991, 0 09 174908 5
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The Challenge of Europe: Can Britain win? 
by Michael Heseltine.
Pan, 226 pp., £5.99, February 1991, 9780330314367
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... moment at least, the Prime Minister finds it easier to talk to George Bush than to Helmut Kohl or François Mitterrand. Public perceptions are bound to be affected by the failure of the EC to make coherent noises on the Gulf. Indeed what the Gulf crisis has done is to revive, not so much the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’, but the Grand ...

The market taketh away

Paul Foot, 3 July 1997

Number One Millbank: The Financial Downfall of the Church of England 
by Terry Lovell.
HarperCollins, 263 pp., £15.99, June 1997, 0 00 627866 3
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... agent and property management services’. In the mid-Eighties, as Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand signed a joint treaty to build the Channel Tunnel, a couple of small-time speculators based in Scotland had the bright idea that the project would lead to massive property development in Kent. They started inquiring about options to buy ...

Aunt Twackie’s Bazaar

Andy Beckett: Seventies Style, 19 August 2010

70s Style and Design 
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.90, November 2009, 978 0 500 51483 2
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... that there was a future for the left, for collectivism and the postwar consensus: the election of François Mitterrand as French president on a left-wing manifesto in 1981, and Margaret Thatcher’s nearly fatal struggles as prime minister between 1979 and 1982, suggested that the mid-1970s revival of the right in the West was far from secure. But if you ...

‘Monocled Baron Charged’

David Coward: Vichy’s commissioner for Jewish affairs, 8 June 2006

Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family and Fatherland 
by Carmen Callil.
Cape, 614 pp., £20, April 2006, 0 224 07810 0
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... not least René Bousquet, head of Vichy’s militia, sometime government minister and friend to François Mitterrand, were eventually required to answer the charges against them. Callil pulls off a daunting challenge quite brilliantly. This hugely readable slice of history seen ‘from underneath’ tells an unknown victim’s tale, rather as a ...

I am French

Jeremy Harding, 21 January 2016

Who is Charlie? Xenophobia and the New Middle Class 
by Emmanuel Todd, translated by Andrew Brown.
Polity, 211 pp., £16.99, September 2015, 978 1 5095 0577 7
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... In January​ 2012 François Hollande, socialist candidate for the presidency, announced on the campaign trail that his ‘true’ enemy was finance capitalism. In the space of twenty years it had taken control of ‘the economy, society, our very own lives’. A few weeks later in London, where the British public had bailed out the City with mixed feelings, Hollande backed off ...

Sure looks a lot like conservatism

Didier Fassin: Macronisme, 5 July 2018

Revolution Française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation 
by Sophie Pedder.
Bloomsbury, 297 pp., £25, June 2018, 978 1 4729 4860 1
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... caught the imagination of French voters disillusioned with Les Républicains, whose leader, François Fillon, had been disgraced in a nepotism scandal, and with the Parti Socialiste (PS), undermined by François Hollande’s disappointing presidency. Macron had been an investment banker at Rothschild and was minister ...

You need a gun

Wolfgang Streeck: The A-Word, 14 December 2017

The H-Word: The Peripeteia of Hegemony 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 190 pp., £16.99, April 2017, 978 1 78663 368 2
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The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 179 pp., £14.99, April 2017, 978 1 78663 372 9
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... result of historical miscalculations in the 1990s by Germany under Helmut Kohl and France under François Mitterrand. Kohl wanted political union to precede monetary union, which would effectively have eliminated Germany as a nation-state together with all other European nation-states. Kohl’s imagined union would have been economically semi-sovereign ...

Down with deflation!

Paul Seabright, 12 December 1996

... the wage inflation that had been struggling to keep up. Mrs Thatcher’s lesson was learned by François Mitterrand, among other politicians, and Western European electorates have since then been tolerating high unemployment for longer than would previously have been thought possible. If the only benefits of inflation came from systematic deception of ...

The Open Society and its Friends

Christopher Huhne, 25 October 1990

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe 
by Ralf Dahrendorf.
Chatto CounterBlast Special, 154 pp., £5.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3725 8
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... are clearly guiding the policy of that former French prisoner-of-war and thrice escapee President François Mitterrand. German reunification has galvanised all of France’s diplomatic efforts behind closer economic and political union with Germany within the Community. By sharing sovereignty, France aims to ensure that it cannot be used again by a ...

English Words and French Authors

John Sturrock, 8 February 1990

A New History of French Literature 
edited by Denis Hollier.
Harvard, 1280 pp., £39.95, October 1989, 0 674 61565 4
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... dates, progressing from the Roman invasion of 125 BC to the re-election as President in 1988 of François Mitterrand. This abundance of diachronic markers suggests that the New History has been planned with one eye at least on the contextual principles of the New Historicism: Literature will be implicated here more materially than of old in the society ...

Un Dret Egal

David A. Bell: Political Sentiment, 15 November 2007

Inventing Human Rights: A History 
by Lynn Hunt.
Norton, 272 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 0 393 06095 9
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... action, of receiving a National Guardsman’s uniform, even of confronting shared starvation. François Mitterrand once wrote eloquently of the effects of having to share out meagre rations in a German prisoner-of-war camp: ‘One has to have seen the new representatives – nobody knew exactly how they had been appointed – dividing up the black ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Who is François Hollande?, 13 September 2012

... Before he ran for the Socialist Party nomination in 2011 François Hollande was an identikit politician: son of a left-wing Catholic mother and avidly right-wing father, degree from Sciences-Po, brilliant énarque, father of four (with Ségolène Royal), bon viveur and party machine man, tracing a line from Mitterrand through Jacques Delors to Lionel Jospin ...

Poland and the New France

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 4 March 1982

... time enough for us to draw up an end-of-year or new year balance of their achievement. President Mitterrand, like Mendès-France, was long a staunch opponent of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, but, despite this, he has had no trouble in adapting to the institutions bequeathed to him by de Gaulle. In terms of ceremonial, he has abolished some ...

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