Journalist, foreign correspondent, an authoritative Britisher writing with understanding of France, of Russia -- and now turning again to France with a political biography of the controversial Mendes-France, whom many have thought was the only man who could lead France out of the slough of despond. But Mendes-France's brief stays in office have been signalized by events unpopular with the French politicos:- the summary ending of the Indo-China wars; home rule in Tunisia; Germany's admission to NATO; the effort to cut France's alcoholic consumption; steps towards regularizing France's economic and tax structure; undermining EDC, and most of all, his recommendations regarding Algiers. It was on this score that he went out of office- and stayed out, from May, 1956 on. Werth here traces the story, a difficult one for any reader not familiar with France's political kaleidoscope. He has chosen to tell it through directly quoted extracts from speeches, pronouncements, journalistic jottings, with brief running commentary. This for the average reader is difficult reading and it requires close concentration to get the whole picture. A special market.