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Haughty Dirigistes

Sudhir Hazareesingh: France, 23 May 2019

France’s Long Reconstruction: In Search of the Modern Republic 
by Herrick Chapman.
Harvard, 405 pp., £37.95, January 2018, 978 0 674 97641 2
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... There is​ a France only thanks to the state,’ Charles de Gaulle declared in 1960, ‘and only by the state can France be maintained.’ He spoke these words during the ‘week of the barricades’ in Algiers, when a pied-noir uprising gained significant support in local units of the French army. De Gaulle appeared on television in full military uniform, and reminded the soldiers that he was their commander-in-chief ...

Violets in Their Lapels

David A. Bell: Bonapartism, 23 June 2005

The Legend of Napoleon 
by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
Granta, 336 pp., £20, August 2004, 1 86207 667 7
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The Retreat 
by Patrick Rambaud, translated by William Hobson.
Picador, 320 pp., £7.99, June 2005, 0 330 48901 1
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Napoleon: The Eternal Man of St Helena 
by Max Gallo, translated by William Hobson.
Macmillan, 320 pp., £10.99, April 2005, 0 333 90798 1
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The Saint-Napoleon: Celebrations of Sovereignty in 19th-Century France 
by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
Harvard, 307 pp., £32.95, May 2004, 0 674 01341 7
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Napoleon and the British 
by Stuart Semmel.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, September 2004, 0 300 09001 3
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... heads of Europe; as the lover of Josephine. He remained a man of the people despite himself. If Sudhir Hazareesingh hits a wrong note anywhere in his splendid survey of Napoleon’s ‘legend’ in 19th-century France, it is when he compares Napoleon to de Gaulle. There are of course numerous parallels between these two generals turned ‘saviours of ...

Made in Algiers

Jeremy Harding: De Gaulle, 4 November 2010

Le mythe gaullien 
by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
Gallimard, 280 pp., €21, May 2010, 978 2 07 012851 8
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The General: Charles de Gaulle and the France He Saved 
by Jonathan Fenby.
Simon and Schuster, 707 pp., £30, June 2010, 978 1 84737 392 2
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... life. Removing himself from view the better to be seen was both a tactic and a strategy, as Sudhir Hazareesingh argues in a fascinating study of the De Gaulle myth. He might sweep up his papers and stride from a meeting, refuse to attend a commemoration, or retire for years to his home in Colombey-les-deux-Eglises. It was important, De Gaulle had ...

A Rage for Abstraction

Jeremy Harding, 16 June 2016

The Other Paris: An Illustrated Journey through a City’s Poor and Bohemian Past 
by Luc Sante.
Faber, 306 pp., £25, November 2015, 978 0 571 24128 6
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How the French Think: An Affectionate Portrait of an Intellectual People 
by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
Allen Lane, 427 pp., £20, June 2015, 978 1 84614 602 2
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... on trial, she was sent to a penal colony in New Caledonia. We​ come across her again in Sudhir Hazareesingh’s sharp-eyed survey, How the French Think, as she returns to France in 1895, after more than one prison term and a spell in exile, to become the Commune’s ‘most potent living symbol’. Several of Sante’s characters turn up in ...

Dictators on the Loose

Miles Taylor: Modelling Waterloo, 6 January 2005

Wellington’s Smallest Victory: The Duke, the Model Maker and the Secret of Waterloo 
by Peter Hofschröer.
Faber, 324 pp., £14.99, April 2004, 0 571 21768 0
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... the British officers and men who fell on the day. In France it was a different story, as Sudhir Hazareesingh has recently shown in The Legend of Napoleon.* Napoleon was resurrected as a national hero in 1840, when Louis-Philippe’s regime, weakened by conspiracy and corruption, repatriated the emperor’s corpse from St Helena and had it ...

The End of the Plantocracy

Pooja Bhatia, 19 November 2020

The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution 
by Julius S. Scott.
Verso, 246 pp., £12.99, September 2020, 978 1 78873 248 2
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Maroon Nation: A History of Revolutionary Haiti 
by Johnhenry Gonzalez.
Yale, 302 pp., £30, August 2019, 978 0 300 23008 6
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Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture 
by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
Penguin, 442 pp., £25, September 2020, 978 0 241 29381 2
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... hero’, although he died, most likely tortured and murdered, at the hands of the French state.Sudhir Hazareesingh’s new biography of Louverture, Black Spartacus, points to the difficulty of describing a figure for whom obscurity was political strategy.He was a very private man who confided in no one and went out of his way to conceal important ...

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