Offering the perspective that ""France was lucky to have a De Gaulle on the two occasions when it desperately needed him,"" Hartley develops a well-documented, low-keyed encomium. De Gaulle's early writings are used to elicit his quasi-religious glorification of France and his romantic mystique of action and violence. In an attempt to define the ""inner logic and implicit tensions"" of ""le style du General,"" Hartley, a well-known journalist, convincingly conveys De Gaulle's surpassing ability to bluff and feint and disarm adversaries to maximize the smallest advantages. The book describes how Dc Gaulle persuaded the Americans against a military occupation of France, and how, by means of a timely visit to Moscow and granting permission for Communist Party chief Thorez to return to France, he succeeded in disarming the left-wing partisans after the war. The General maintained control of his heterogeneous party, disregarding right-wingers like Soustelle and Delbecques after stringing them along through years of maneuvering over Algeria. After his hopes collapsed for a ""De Gaulle-Adenauer"" axis, he made overtures toward the Third World and became anti-American in his fiscal and military policies. Hartley often overestimates De Gaulle by crediting the opposition with more political skill than it possessed: De Gaulle's victory over the Mitterand challenge was largely due to the vacillations and foolishness of the latter's forces. The book brushes over the deterioration of the living standards of most peasants and many workers during the 1960's and deals lightly with the '68 May Days. Patient readers and specialists will find a considerable amount of material here, though Hartley's premises are of course too partisan to be swallowed whole.