The Black and the Red: Francois Mitterrand, the Story of an Ambition

Catherine Nay, Author, Allan Sheridan, Translator, Alan Sheridan, Translator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $19.95 (404p) ISBN 978-0-15-112885-3
Originally published in France, this biography is basically the story of Mitterrand's long struggle to reach the Elysee Palace. Foiled many times over, his victory in 1981 is categorized here as ""the ultimate triumph and supreme revenge of the eternal loser.'' Initially a staunch rightist, Mitterrand discovered late in his career that ``only a single way was open to his ambition, that of the Left.'' After making what the author calls ``an alliance with the devil,'' i.e., the Communists, he became the first socialist president of the Republic. Nay analyzes the ``affair of the leaks'' in which Mitterrand was suspected in 1954 of passing secrets to the Communists, and the 1959 ``Observatoire affair'' in which he was accused of staging a fake assassination attempt to win voter sympathy. Not quite a hatchet job (Nay, a French journalist, is clearly in awe of Mitterrand's manipulative skills), the biography reveals a politician at once secretive, opportunistic and always surprising. (April 15)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
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