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A Certain Idea of France


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The definitive biography of the greatest French statesman of modern times.

About the Author

Julian Jackson is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London and one of the foremost British experts on twentieth-century France. His previous books include France- The Dark Years, 1940-1944, which was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times History Book Award, and his celebrated The Fall of France, which won the Wolfson History Prize in 2004. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques.


Jackson's new biography makes awesome reading, and is a tribute to the fascination of its subject, and to Jackson's mastery of it. -- Max Hastings * Sunday Times *
A tour de force, and by far the best biography in English to date. -- Patrick Marnham * Standpoint *
Scholarship of the highest class ... a truly great book, for after this all other biographies can be cast aside. -- Simon Heffer * Sunday Telegraph *
A Certain Idea of France is more than just another, bigger, biography ... he has the skill and style to maintain a dramatic narrative over nearly 800 pages of text -- Robert Tombs * Spectator *
A Certain Idea of France is full of fascinating detail and anecdote ... It is a suitably monumental achievement. -- Lewis Jones * The Times *
Only a great biography could do justice to such a man. This one does it, magnificently. -- Noel Malcolm * Sunday Telegraph *
Jackson has written a biography that fully matches de Gaulle's remarkable life. ... This is too an extremely busy book, packed with anecdote, adventure and the kind of insider gossip that can only be foraged by an expert historian who is comfortable in the archives but who has eyes and ears ever alert to the telling details. -- Andrew Hussey * New Statesman *
Compelling and painstakingly documented * Economist *
With a fluent style and near-total command of existing and newly available sources, he peers behind the monolithic facade to unmask a composite of opposing traits ... crafting the finest one-volume life of de Gaulle in English, Julian Jackson has come closer than anyone before him to demystifying this conservative at war with the status quo, for whom national interests were inseparable from personal honour and "a certain idea of France." -- Richard Norton Smith * Wall Street Journal *
Remarkable ... To tell the life of De Gaulle is also to chart the history of modern France, and in this suitably monumental biography rich with illuminating anecdotes, Jackson portrays his subject as a complex and contradictory character -- PD Smith * Guardian *
In this superb biography, a masterpiece of empathy as well as scholarship, Julian Jackson has probably made the best effort yet to elucidate the truth about this awkward, opaque, vindictive and messianic man. ... though erudite, incisive and painstakingly balanced, Jackson's biography is no dry-as-dust study. He writes with verve and wit. -- Piers Brendon * Prospect *
Drawing on recently declassified presidential archives, Jackson sheds new and revealing light on the inner workings of the Gaullian executive ... exemplary -- Sudhir Hazareesingh * Times Literary Supplement *

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