De Gaulle: The Man Who Defied Six US Presidents

Douglas Boyd, Author
Douglas Boyd. History (U.K.) (IPG, dist.), $29.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7524-9700-6
Ebook - 239 pages - 978-0-7524-9733-4
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-7509-4764-0
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Historian and former BBC TV producer Boyd (The French Foreign Legion) draws on previously unpublished archival material to deliver a somewhat superficial look at the general who led the Free French Forces and in 1958 founded the Fifth French Republic, serving as president from 1959 to 1969. Readers will get an exhaustively detailed, in-depth look at many lesser-known aspects of WWII, such as the split in the French factions and de Gaulle's potentially treasonous behavior. Yet these WWII details become overbearing, and Boyd glosses over large swaths of the post-war years in which de Gaulle still played a noteworthy role in political affairs and finally was able to re-establish some semblance of a relationship with the United States. The gamesmanship of diplomacy is clearly displayed and there is enough of the man present here to show that his is an incredible story, created in large part through force of will. Nevertheless, in attempting to live up to his subtitle, what Boyd delivers is a mere sense of the man, which only serves to leave readers needing, not just wanting, more. De Gaulle's story would be better served by a more personal account with less emphasis on war logistics. 16 page b&w photo insert. (Mar.)
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