RED FLAG/BLACK FLAG: French Revolution, 1968 by Patrick & Maureen McConville Seale

RED FLAG/BLACK FLAG: French Revolution, 1968

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Apparently De Gaulle managed to transform even the ""revolution"" of May and June 1968 into a demonstration of his ""political virility."" The student-led strike--which quickly spread to workers, scientists, professionals, churchmen--was, according to the authors, an attempt to castrate Gaullism. Flamboyant radical Daniel Cohn-Bendit, an early attacker, was ""Totally unimpressed by age, rank, or authority--by all the protective cant of the adult world--his talent was to keep a mocking finger pointed at the emperor's testicles."" Here two Paris-based correspondents for The London Observer offer a dramatic, chronological account of events, a guide to the groupuscules which formed a coalition, and an analysis of the impact of what became a nationwide strike. The revolution began with a Valentine Day's dormitory raid by male students at Nanterre who wanted ""free circulation"" among the co-eds. It mushroomed to an onslaught against the paternalism of the university, the societal strictures, and the General himself. School children began to chant ""Power is in the street, not in Parliament!""--and many adults took up the refrain. Ultimately, as these reporters ably show, a frightened citizenry allowed itself to be seduced by De Gaulle's dual-promise to husband the nation's safety and to institute ""participation."" Certainly this is the surest, broadest account yet of a revolution that may be echoed elsewhere.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1968
Publisher: Putnam