The Many Faces of Mitterand

Vichy functionary, socialist politician, conservative president--the story of an amazingly adaptable Frenchman.

Issue: Fall 2000

Ronald Tiersky, François Mitterrand: The Last French President (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000) 431 pp., $29.95.

In 1964, six years after the establishment of the Fifth Republic of France, Franois Mitterrand published The Permanent Coup d'État, a thundering denunciation of Charles de Gaulle's "regime of personal power" and a call for the return of parliamentary republicanism and the rule of law in France. In 1995 Mitterrand retired after fourteen dramatic years as occupant of de Gaulle's presidency, an "emperor in republican clothing", to use Ronald Tiersky's felicitous formulation in his new biography of the late French president.

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