The General - Charles De Gaulle And The France He Saved

Jonathan Fenby/ Simon and Schuster. £9.99.

NO leader of modern times was more unique and more uniquely national than De Gaulle.

As founder and first President of the Fifth Republic, he saw himself 'carrying France on my shoulders'.

When he first appeared on the world stage in 1940, he appeared hugely arrogant, but he personified many of the traits of his country – pride in itself, its intransigence, its historical and cultural heritage and its quasi-religious belief in the state.

This is a huge and sweeping biography of one of the great leaders of the 20th century and the country which he so identified himself.

With enormous detail, the author skilfully contrasts the public leader with the private man.