A Maurois biography has a definite and established market. This will undoubtedly build up a considerable sale on Maurois' name, although Chateaubriand is not so glamorous, nor so sympathetic a character as some of his other subjects. From the scholarly viewpoint, this is, perhaps, his most important book, a thorough background job, and a definitive life of a man of conflicts, through the very contradictions of his ambitions and his ideals. He was the prototype of English and French romantics, a genius, proud, egotistic, a poseur, constantly playing to the grandstand, in love, in politics, in active life. His was a lonely childhood; he was trained for the army; he came to America and used the trip as the basis for two great novels. He returned to France, married, and fled to England to escape the Revolution. Back to France again, under Napoleon's rÃ‰gime, and to a courageous position of open lack of sympathy. Under the Restoration he held numerous diplomatic posts, and has come down to fame as a statesman -- and as the lover of Mme. Recamier. Pride, tactlessness, vanity brought his downfall -- and his dreary old age. It is a rich period, that spanned by his life, and Maurois paints it in all its color.