A textbook specimen of his generation, Thirion before World War II was a bohemian and a Communist, then an insurance company executive and Legionnaire, and a cafe Surrealist throughout. Of his life as a Party functionary in the '20's Thirion says, ""I lived only for action"" while his simultaneous Surrealist haunts in another district ""were like a secret assignation with strangely disturbing persons."" Thirion's connections with Surrealists and other celebrities (Milhaud, Man Ray, Gertrude Stein, Eluard, Dali) are definitely more than just name-dropping; not an artist or writer himself, he was directly involved in these circles' little intrigues. Thirion's world demanded not human intimacy but a collector's view of individuals, and memoir time arrived, a tone of self-justification. Thirion, not surprisingly, hated the Communist Party for anti-intellectualism, stupidity, and oppressive bureaucratic authoritarianism (although the first accusation seems a bit hypocritical on his part). It is remarkable that a man like this held various high Party posts until his 1931 expulsion, and was later asked to rejoin despite his incurable anarchism. Thirion prudently ends the autobiography in 1947, when he joined the Gaullists: He's a good example of the rebellion and submission syndrome -- a pint-sized Malraux.