Books: Roland's Last Blast

MEMOIRS OF HOPE: RENEWAL AND ENDEAVOR by CHARLES DE GAULLE translated by TERENCE KILMARTIN 392 pages. Simon & Schuster. $10.

Charles de Gaulle, leader and symbol of victorious Free France, visited Russia in 1944, and his hosts took him to visit the battlefield at Stalingrad. De Gaulle pensively surveyed the terrain, then turned to the Russians and said: "A great people—[pause] the Germans." The story, perhaps apocryphal, tells much about the man: his frosty independence, his detached historical perspective, his ability to deliver the calculated shock.

Those qualities made De Gaulle essential to France...

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