The Locust Years: The Story of the Fourth French Republic, 1946-1958

Frank Giles, Author
Frank Giles, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $26.95 (431p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0056-1
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
Hardcover - 431 pages - 978-0-436-20022-9
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Giles, Paris correspondent of the London Times for much of the period covered here, follows French history from the WW II Liberation to the upheaval that returned Charles de Gaulle to power in '58. His chronicle of coalition governments during the Indochina war, the Suez crisis and the Algerian insurrection vividly illustrates de Gaulle's quip that his compatriots were ``the most fickle and unmanageable people on earth.'' At the same time, Giles describes how political economist Jean Monnet, overseeing the modernization of French industry and agriculture, led an economic revival even as the country was losing its colonial empire. In 1958, after the military and civilian revolt in Algiers, de Gaulle was voted back in power to lead a nation deeply split over the Algerian question. Giles's well-researched history concentrates on the creeping paralysis that characterized much of the Fourth Republic governance, but he also stresses its main achievements, particularly the restoration of economic prosperity and the beginning of international cooperation thanks to Monnet's brilliant concept, the European Economic Community. A lively analysis of an often overlooked period of modern French history. Illustrations. (June)
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