Books of the year 2010 | Vernon Bogdanor

The General: Charles de Gaulle and the France He Saved by Jonathan Fenby

 

Adam Sisman's Hugh Trevor-Roper: the Biography (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25) combines enlightenment and entertainment about a great historian, fated to be remembered primarily for his gaffe about the Hitler diaries. Jonathan Fenby's The General: Charles de Gaulle and the France He Saved (Simon & Schuster, £30) is a scholarly, instructive and well-balanced biography of this maddening statesman, so deeply hostile to both Britain and the United States. If France still counts as a great power, however, it is because of de Gaulle. Peter Mandelson's The Third Man (HarperPress, £25) is the autobiography of someone who fought in the open to transform Labour. His only "revelation" is that Labour must once more come to develop an understanding of and sympathy with popular aspirations. It is a lesson that should not need to be learned a second time.

Previous book: Fatima Bhutto

Next book: Alain de Botton

Back to list