De Gaulle

Julian Jackson

‘A concise and distinguished book
Andrew Roberts, The Telegraph

‘Intelligent and entertaining … It will be top of the modern French history reading lists for years to come’
The Times Literary Supplement

‘This excellent account is a must-read
The Good Book Guide

‘Jackson weaves the particularities of de Gaulle’s life into a clear picture … [an] excellent introduction


Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), saviour of France’s honour in 1940 and founder of the Fifth Republic in 1958, was a man and leader of deep contradictions. A conservative and a Catholic from a monarchist family, he restored democracy on his return to France in 1944, bringing the Communists into his government. An imperialist, he oversaw the final stages of France’s withdrawal from its last colonies in the 1960s. As a soldier, he spent much of his career in opposition to France’s military establishment.

Yet, as Julian Jackson shows, it was precisely because of these contradictions that De Gaulle was able to reconcile so many of the conflicting strands in French politics. In 1958, and in response to a coup by the French military in Algeria, De Gaulle introduced a new political system, the Fifth Republic, ushering in a period of stability that has held to the present day.

JULIAN JACKSON is Emeritus Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London and one of the foremost British scholars of twentieth-century France. A Certain Idea of France: The Life of Charles de Gaulle won the Duff Cooper Prize. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques and Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


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