THREE LIVES OF DE GAULLE by David Schoenbrun


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David Schoenbrun is a top CBS newsman and analyst with an impressive accessibility to the great and knowledge of politics, in particular French politics. In an earlier book, As France Goes, 1957, he took a devastating look at the prede Gaulle France of, the Fourth Republic. Here he applies his experience and qualifications to the task of presenting formidable Charles de Gaulle of France. It is a full dress biography, beginning with the childhood years when his family realized he was different and his father trained him with the expectation of greatness, and closing with the author's own expectation-- that ""the good of Charles de Gaulle will live on long after him."" Between come the years that divide into three careers: as soldier, when the Germans recognized his stature while his countrymen would not listen to him (a parallel to Churchill's similar unheeded warning in the '30's); as Savior when he led Free France from London, his greatest hour; and as statesman, when at sixty-seven he took the helm of the Fifth Republic. Author Schoenbrun is at his best and most revealing in opening to view the uncivil war Which was waged between de Gaulle and the Anglo-Saxons from the London years on. He presents the letters from Roosevelt to Churchill about ""the reluctant bride"" in the war years, an important after-view from Eisenhower, who made the greatest effort to get on with de Gaulle but could not accede to him, and inner information re Kennedy and Johnson. He deals ably but does not linger on all aspects of the French political experience of the era, always with a view to de Gaulle's own position (on Algeria, Suez, the Common Market, recognizing China, nuclear policy). Not given room among the great powers, de Gaulle took the alternative of being the biggest among the small powers. Schoenbrun approaches de Gaulle more in awe than in anger; the nature of hisdisclosures adds weight to his assessment. Not as partisan as Robert Aron's study , or as striking to read.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1965
Publisher: Atheneum