A Gallic lucidity informs this ""explanation,"" as Robert Aron writes in quick, quotable prose of the great leader who is...

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AN EXPLANATION OF DE GAULLE

A Gallic lucidity informs this ""explanation,"" as Robert Aron writes in quick, quotable prose of the great leader who is ""a poet of action who makes his own legend come true."" ""A man who listens to himself when he writes but who does not always hear himself speak,"" De Gaulle gestates through a vulgar phase, in Aron's estimation, then when the moment is ripe acts and speaks with nobility. Aron gives the facts of De Gaulle's background and career (as Mauriac did not, as Schoenbrun did), finds four paradoxes to ponder but turns to the basic question, ""How did a seditious general of June 1940 turn into the authoritarian leader of state of 1966?"" He portrays the system of political parties in France as a burial club, and De Gaulle as ""the first man from a Western Biblical tradition who has taken the initiative back from atheistic materialism."" But against him De Gaulle has the memory of French fighting Frenchmen in Algiers, ""the ugliest and blackest tragedy in French history."" Aron does not give so systematic a coverage of De Gaulle's coming to power in 1958 as Schoenbrun in The Three Lives (p. 1183) nor in changes since, perhaps because his France Reborn covered this ground. he does assess his ""misundertanding"" with his Allies (first class allies are handled brutally). He thinks De Gaulle sees both the capitalist and communist systems as represented by the U.S. and U.S.S.R. as anachronistic, poses the question of whether Gaullism may not be the wave of the future. Aron's style is more accessible to the non-meditative reader than Schoenbrun, to the less informed than Mauriac's De Gaulle (p. 1221).

Pub Date: March 16, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1966