Charles de Gaulle was perhaps the most thoughtful and impressive statesman of the twentieth century. His only possible rival in this regard is Winston Churchill, another statesman-thinker, though Churchill presided over a longstanding, stable, and free political order in the United Kingdom, something on which de Gaulle could not depend in the French case. De Gaulle has been the subject of fine biographies in the past, among them a somewhat mythologizing three-volume work by Jean Lacouture, a well-researched but less than sympathetic account by Eric Roussel (who clearly prefers the supranationalist Jean Monnet to de Gaulle’s passionate partisanship for the nation), and a more popular and readable account in English by Jonathan Fenby. Added to these now is this superb and equitable portrait by the British historian of twentieth-century France, Julian Jackson.
Read the rest of Daniel J. Mahoney's review in City Journal.