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Touchez-pas à mon de Gaulle

Douglas Johnson, 19 February 1987

De Gaulle. Vol III: Le Souverain 
by Jean Lacouture.
Seuil, 870 pp., frs 145, August 1984, 2 02 006969 5
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... La France Libre,’ de Gaulle wrote to Jean Marin, who’d been his companion in London from the summer of 1940 and was now the Director of the Agence France-Presse, ‘that was the finest thing we ever did.’ He believed this. Many of his closest associates believed it too. But as the leader of la France Libre (and la France Combattante), de Gaulle was hardly a free man ...

The General vanishes

Douglas Johnson, 18 September 1986

De Gaulle. Vol. I: Le Rebelle 
by Jean Lacouture.
Seuil, 869 pp., frs 99, April 1984, 2 02 006969 5
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De Gaulle. Vol. II: Le Politique 
by Jean Lacouture.
Seuil, 724 pp., frs 120, April 1984, 2 02 008933 5
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Charles de Gaulle: A Biography 
by Don Cook.
Secker, 432 pp., £15, February 1984, 0 436 10676 0
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Jean Moulin et le Conseil National de la Résistance 
Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent/Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 192 pp., frs 40, February 1983, 2 222 03428 0Show More
De Gaulle et la nation face aux problèmes de défense 1945-1946 
Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent/Institut Charles-de-Gaulle, 317 pp., frs 110, May 1982, 2 259 01109 8Show More
De Gaulle 
by Sam White.
Harrap, 239 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 245 54213 2
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... uncritical acceptance. The biographer who has the most directly benefited from this situation is Jean Lacouture. Having written a small and somewhat critical book on de Gaulle some years ago, he has now published two volumes of what is one of the most impressive exercises in biography to have come out of France in recent years. The second volume stops ...

Unmasking Monsieur Malraux

Richard Mayne, 25 June 1992

The Conquerors 
by André Malraux, translated by Stephen Becker.
Chicago, 198 pp., £8.75, December 1991, 0 226 50290 2
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The Temptation of the West 
by André Malraux, translated by Robert Hollander.
Chicago, 122 pp., £8.75, February 1992, 0 226 50291 0
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The Walnut Tree of Altenburg 
by André Malraux, translated by A.W. Fielding.
Chicago, 224 pp., £9.55, April 1992, 0 226 50289 9
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... then, ‘all his life long Malraux was an actor playing Malraux.’ A conscious echo, no doubt, of Jean Cocteau’s remark that ‘Victor Hugo was a mad-man who thought he was Victor Hugo.’ But Lottman’s – and others’ – objection to Malraux was less that he was mad than that he was misleading. ‘For all of his life André Malraux let it be ...

Mendès

R.W. Johnson, 20 June 1985

Pierre Mendès France 
by Jean Lacouture, translated by George Holoch.
Holmes & Meier, 486 pp., $34.50, December 1984, 0 8419 0856 7
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... darkest hours. Yet he was prime minister for just 245 days. George Holoch’s fine translation of Jean Lacouture’s excellent journalistic biography is thus especially welcome. Mendès was born of a family of Portuguese Jews (the original name was Mendo Franca) who fled to France from the tortures of the Inquisition. His father, a travelling salesman ...

Blumsday

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 3 November 1983

Léon Blum 
by Jean Lacouture, translated by George Holoch.
Holmes & Meier, 571 pp., $39.50, October 1982, 0 8419 0775 7
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... Jean Lacouture’s study of Léon Blum is entertaining and has been very well translated by George Holoch. The book’s frequent references to French names unknown across the Channel could put English readers off: but curiosity may prevail with a British public which finds itself abruptly transported into the unfamiliar territory of French political life under the Third and Fourth Republics ...

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’. What he meant was that every true Englishman is, at least potentially, an opponent of France ...

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