NO LAURELS FOR DE GAULLE by Robert Mengin

NO LAURELS FOR DE GAULLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Robert Mengin is an ardent Frenchman and an equally ardent anti-Gaullist. He writes not from disenchantment, since he was never enchanted, but from a wary remove of the man who took it upon himself to become the depository of French sovereignty and to speak for the nation as though he embodied it. His record covers the years 1940 to 1943, when he was a newsman in London. His refusal to sign an oath of allegiance to De Gaulle (he felt one could not rightly hand one's conscience to another person) complicated his activities and kept him for a time from service in the Navy. Working for Courrier de 'Air and the BBC, he was in a position to witness De Gaulle in action. De Gaulle in action meant one thing, the achievement of his own sovereignty. To this end he dealt ruthlessly with potential opposition to primacy. His position as a fighting General in Dakar, Syria, and by long distance St. Pierr-Miquelon also was open to judgment. Churchill, who welcomed him with open arms, changed his mind about him but was persuaded to keep mum. This is the man Robert Mengin sees in le grand Charles. In the face of the three books already out here this season proclaiming De Gaulle, his is a dissident voice, delivering its message with a tight lipped disapproval. Its particular focus and limited scope will contain its market here.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux