France: The Compleat Candidate

Summer rains swept the green countryside of the Ile-de-France. Splashing sheets of water, Charles de Gaulle's presidential cortege barreled along the cobbled lanes under sodden chestnut and plane trees, past grey stone farmhouses and into crossroad hamlets where the faithful waited—schoolchildren holding limp paper flags, white-haired women huddled under umbrellas, village mayors draped with tricolored sashes of office. Disdainfully hatless and coatless, the rain plastering his hair to his pink scalp, De Gaulle plunged into the crowds, grasping outstretched hands.

It was advertised as the general's final provincial tour before next...

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