Books: Croutons in the Soup

THE FRENCH: PORTRAIT OF A PEOPLE by Sanche de Gramont. 479 pages. Putnam. $7.95.

With all their faults, wrote French Poet Charles Peguy, God loves the French best. It would be hard to prove Peguy wrong. Still, one wonders whether even the deity can understand his favorites. Witness the recent miscalculation of their mood by Charles de Gaulle, who presumed himself to be modern France incarnate. The challenge of trying to explicate such a capricious, restive and magnificently wrongheaded people is always strong. It has been stimulated lately by what the French discreetly...

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