Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $37.50

Hardback 288 pp.
6.125" x 9.25"



Publication date:
April 2012

Imprint: OUP US

Share on Facebook

Add to Favourites Tell a Friend

In the Shadow of the General

Modern France and the Myth of De Gaulle

Sudhir Hazareesingh

In contemporary France, Charles de Gaulle has become a figure of legend, consistently acclaimed as the nation's pre-eminent "historical" figure. But paradoxes abound. For one, his personal popularity sits oddly with his social origins and professional background. Neither the nobility, nor the Catholic Church, nor the Army is particularly well-regarded in France today, as they are seen to represent antiquated traditions and values. So why, then, do the French nonetheless identify with, celebrate, and even revere this austere and devout nobleman, who remained closely wedded to military values throughout his life? In the Shadow of the General resolves this mystery and explains how de Gaulle has come to occupy such a privileged position in the French imagination.

Sudhir Hazareesingh's story of how an individual life was transformed into national myth also tells a great deal about the French collective self in the twenty-first century: its fractured memory, its aspirations to greatness, and its manifold anxieties. Indeed, alongside the tale of de Gaulle's legacy, the author unfolds a much broader narrative: the story of modern France.

Readership : General readers interested in European history, French history and politics, and comparative politics.

Prelude: April 20th 2009, In the Courtyard of the Invalides
1. De Gaulle, a French Passion
2. Hail to the Liberator
3. Sentiment and Reason
4. The Spirit of the 18th of June
5. Father of the Nation
6. Pilgrimages to Colombey
7. The Consecration of an icon
Conclusion: The Last Great Frenchman
Sources and Bibliography

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Sudhir Hazareesingh is Fellow of Politics at Balliol College, Oxford University, and Fellow of the British Academy.

The Fall of France - Julian Jackson
France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944 - Julian Jackson
France since The Popular Front - Maurice Larkin
Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese

Special Features

  • Uses the biography of one the giants of the twentieth century to tell the story of modern France.
  • Authored by a leading scholar of modern France, this will be of interest to anyone trying to understand French society today.
  • Shows how de Gaulle's legacy extends all the way down to the current leaders of France, including President Sarkozy.