DE GAULLE AND HIS FRANCE: A Psychopolitical and Historical Portrait of Charles de Gaulle by Jacques de Launay

DE GAULLE AND HIS FRANCE: A Psychopolitical and Historical Portrait of Charles de Gaulle

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Still another book on de Gaulle's Promethean personality and policies. De Launay, who specializes in contemporary history, assembles a prodigious amount of data but never settles down to coherent analysis. Why is de Gaulle the right leader for France? De Launay's reasons seem capricious: ""First, there is his name, extraordinary in itself. Second, there are his histrionic talents. . . . Third, there is his aura of aloofness, perhaps related to his exceptional height."" The author sketches the stages of de Gaulle's life and career, serves up warmed over anecdotes, extensive notes, and a (useful) index of French personalities. He quotes the standard books on de Gaulle and the Memoirs. But he never gets beyond the mystique: ""De Gaulle is a pupil of Nietzsche. Vital energy activates Superman."" Equal weight is given to the evidence of graphology and psychology, gossip and certified fact. Ultimately, however, de Launay is unable to extract a point of view. The method is eclectic. He has not the material for a dramatized biography. He has not the capacity for a scholarly analysis. He has merely a ragged bundle of facts, non-facts, and generalizations. He has made it into a book.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Julian