THE GENERAL by Pierre Galante


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Is it possible that the man who resurrected France is now mainly concerned with his own burial site? Or is this preoccupation along with the concentration on De Gaulle's dead mongoloid child and on the assassination attempts, more a reflection of Galante's predilection for morbidity? In any case, the editor of Paris-Match begins his book with these ""items"" though ultimately he does manage to make his informal portrait of the general fairly lively. He has had access to some of the De Gaulle family papers and apparently has interviewed the general. The book is filled with De Gaulle's barbed comments: President Kennedy (whom De Gaulle admired) was as deft as a ""hairdresser"" whereas LBJ behaves more like a ""truck driver."" The book, which attempts to be very generous toward the general's personality (and more incidentally, his policies) presents him as a lovable, rigid, old eccentric whose sense of Gallic grandeur repeatedly has saved France. Considering the anecdotes on the general's tendency toward authoritarianism (as a POW he gave orders to his captors), Galante makes some unconvincing assessments: ""the man who governs France definitely has no taste for dictatorship. He is essentially a liberal."" In all, it's a book spiced with new quips and old anecdotes which tries hard but fails to shape a new profile.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1968
Publisher: Random House