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A Taste for Intrigue: The Multiple Lives of François Mitterrand par [Short, Philip]
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Longueur : 620 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

The man who changed the course of modern France

In 1981, François Mitterrand became France's first popularly elected socialist president. By the time he completed his mandate, he had led the country for 14 years, longer than any other French head of state in modern times. Mitterrand mirrored France in all its imperfections and tragedies, its cowardice and glory, its weakness and its strength.

In the wake of the Observatory affair (in which he orchestrated his own assassination attempt), his secretiveness and mistrust grew more pronounced, especially when details of a second family came to light; he was a mixture of "Machiavelli, Don Corleone, Casanova and the Little Prince," said his doctor.

During the German occupation, Mitterrand hedged his bets by joining Petain's Vichy government. Later in 1943, under the nom de guerre of Morland (and 30 other aliases), Mitterrand quit Vichy for the Resistance and a paramilitary organization.
He changed the ground rules of French social and political debate in ways more far-reaching and fundamental than any other modern leader before him, helping set the agenda for France and Europe for generations to come. Philip Short's A Taste for Intrigue will fill the gap and become the standard against which all other Mitterrand biographies are set.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2120 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 640 pages
  • Editeur : Henry Holt and Co. (8 avril 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x9a379558) étoiles sur 5 7 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x99a723fc) étoiles sur 5 A good bio 17 mai 2014
Par Gary McCollim - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
French politics is often difficult for Americans to understand. Philip Short tries manfully to explain the history of French politics through the life of François Mitterrand who began his political career during the Second World War and ended up France's president from 1981 until 1995. He was called the Florentine by contemporaries because he was so slippery and difficult to count on. Hence, the title. Mitterrand served as a French minister in eleven governments between 1946 and 1958. He became the main opponent to
Charles de Gaulle and his allies. Mitterrand ran against de Gaulle in 1965, Giscard in 1974, and finally won in 1981 and was re-elected in 1988. While his politics were inconstant in many ways, he was fervently anti-Communist and the most loyal ally of the United States of any of France's presidents since 1958.
Short's one failure is to understand why French republicans were so opposed to a strong executive given their experience with absolute monarchs and emperors. Short also takes a lot of shots as US policy, some of which are wrong on the facts. The book is a long slog requiring frequent visits to the glossary for those unfamiliar with French politics. However, his bio stands head and shoulders above any other in English.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x99a7703c) étoiles sur 5 Detail-Oriented and Rather Authoritative 12 mai 2014
Par Matthew - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
The first Philip Short biography I read was Mao: A Life in a Chinese history class in college about a decade ago. The class did not go so well, but I kept the book and eventually read all of it. I later did the same with Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare. I was glad to get the chance to read a book by Mr. Short about someone who was not a bloodthirsty mass murderer.

In keeping with his habit of writing tomes that put his name to the lie, Mr. Short has put together a very detailed account of François Mitterrand's life. Starting in media res with some dubious shenanigans in the 1950s, the book goes backwards before going forwards. I found the account of Mitterrand in the Resistance to be one of the most interesting parts of the book overall.

I had just finished Alistair Horne's A Savage War of Peace before reading this book, so I was glad to get to the Algerian War because it meant I had a chance of knowing some of the names and stories involved. Like other biographies, this one suffers a bit from not being able to give full contexts for who was doing what, where, and to whom - whether in Algeria or anywhere else. The immediate and obvious problem is that then any good biography would be 1200 pages long. Seeing as A Taste for Intrigue comes in at a bit under 600, I think that is plenty.

I knew nothing about Mitterrand before reading this book, other than having heard his name a couple of times in the 1990s - I was probably about 10 years old. I get the profound feeling that Mr. Short is doing his best to present a very balanced and fair account of the more controversial aspects of Mitterrand's life. He had a habit of being ambiguous and shifty, and Mr. Short both demonstrates how he did it and then explains why. This covers a number of episodes in Mitterrand's life, including, I think, the bigger and louder scandals that he lived through. I am usually leery of reading biographies because of the possibility of biographies being written either to laud or condemn someone - but Mr. Short and Edvard Radzinsky are two biographers for whom I make exceptions.

I undoubtedly have learned and understood a good amount of information through reading this book, both directly from words on pages and from thinking about what happened and why. No one book can make you an expert on anything, unless the subject is "the literal words in this book, this one, the one you're holding", but I feel that I now have a dim grasp on why France has done the things it's done in my lifetime, and part of why Americans tell jokes about the French. Incidentally, die-hard Reaganites and people who say they love Ronald Reagan will not like how he comes off in this book. That should not really surprise anyone, however.

The only really weak section in the book, I thought, was the portion covering some of the bigger and more noteworthy events in the 1980s. Most of the rest of the book goes into detail about what Mitterrand does and why. I get the impression that the '80s were glossed over, as there are lots of references to news stories and famous incidents with background on the events in question, but not necessarily Mitterrand's motivations for however he responded to them. Maybe the sources are not available yet, maybe they were not written to start with, I cannot say. I suspect that, like the Algerian War section, it is due to the sheer complexity of the events in question - although I think I would have liked a bit more about Mitterrand's thought process during some of these events.

Regardless of the thinner feeling in the '80s section, and some quibbles with a few of the author's conclusions tangential to Mitterrand's life story, I regard this as an informative and very in-depth book.
HASH(0x99a74f60) étoiles sur 5 shows broad connections to many important events 9 juin 2014
Par Michael George - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This biography provides some perspective on the life (at least that is publicly accessible) of Francois Mitterand. Mitterand was one of the world's prominent political figures in the latter part of the twentieth century, connected to numerous interests of France, both internally, and in international affairs. Giving a perspective on his life also provides significant insights into events from the time of WWII until the later years of Mitterand's presidency of France in the 1990s. He was very ambitious, and was also very talented and intelligent, playing the intricate political games of the French. He had his successes, and also some rather embarrassing failures, which the biographer attempts to rationalize somewhat. I thought the book was very good, and highly recommend it as particularly insightful. Mitterand compartmentalized his life, so that only certain aspects of his life are readily available, but these were very interesting, and bring us to confront some of the major events of the twentieth century.
HASH(0x99a78210) étoiles sur 5 A Very balanced View 11 mai 2015
Par Steffan - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Philip Short's book 'A Taste for Intrigue" is a well constructed insight not only into the life of an acknowledged statesman in Francois Mitterand but also of the period in Europe of which he was part. While Mitterand encouraged in his dotage years a number of authors to attempt to capture his biography along with his acknowledged legacy to France at a personal level he was really never satisfied with the resulting works. However, I am sure that he would have approved of Philip Short's biography which provides an excellent balanced perspective of Mitterand's intellect and some of the intrigue surrounding the man both in and out of office. A very good read indeed and one that I would highly recommend.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x99a783b4) étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 20 août 2015
Par Ron - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Interesting and better than expected.
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