Containing previously unpublished material from the Paris and Washington archives, an all new, controversial account of France's role post-World War II
Throughout D-Day, French soliders were mysteriously absent during the invasion on their own soil. Although General Charles De Gaulle commanded 400,000 Free French soldiers, President Roosevelt insisted they not be told the date of the invasion because he intended to occupy France. In doing so, Roosevelt would be able to open France to big American businesses and keep in office those who had run the country for Hitler. This would have sparked a civil war, but De Gaulle outwitted Washington to head the first government of liberated France. It wasn't long after that, disgusted with the professional politicians, he resigned in 1946. Then, in 1958, to save France from civil war a second time, he was elected President of the Republic. De Gaulle continued to be a thorn in American presidents' sides, following with Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Drawing on hitherto unpublished and revealing material from the archives in Paris and Washington, this thought-provoking account of defiance and rejection of foreign domination is a must-read for all history buffs.
Historian and former BBC TV producer Boyd (The French Foreign Legion) draws on previously unpublished archival material to deliver a somewhat superficial look at the general who led the Free French Forces and in 1958 founded the Fifth French Republic, serving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.