THE DE GAULLE NOBODY KNOWS by Alden Hatch

THE DE GAULLE NOBODY KNOWS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The De Gaulle Nobody Knows unfortunately turns out too often to be the De Gaulle everybody knows. Nevertheless, popular biographer Alden Hatch has produced a slick, sprightly work, worth reading even if it reveals nothing very penetrating about the austere French President. Although Hatch obviously intended his portrait to be a sympathetic one, the picture of De Gaulle that emerges as forcefully as ever is one of arrogance, intransigence and egotism. ""I am France"", proclaims De Gaulle as a boy and the book gives no reason to believe that later he ever doubted his statement. It is easy to sympathize with the wartime Allied leaders about whom De Gaulle buzzed like a pesky fly they were too busy to swat. According to Hatch, FDR never got over his impression of De Gaulle as an adventurer without any real following. However, it is apparent from this work that De Gaulle was always well ahead of other French military thinkers and he needed all the intransigence and egotism he could muster to keep France at least theoretically a major power. The recent return of a mellowed De Gaulle obviously saved France from a coup d'etat or civil war, Hatch believes, but he is somewhat dubious about the Fifth Republic because its constitution is so patently tailored to its leader. But then, the author concludes, the American Constitution was once regarded in France as of dubious merit because it was felt to be so obviously designed for George Washington.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1960
Publisher: Hawthorn Books