FRANCE: The Revolution of 1980

A new novel predicts a Giscard-Socialist alliance

It is late spring in 1980. Throughout France, unemployed workers stage factory sit-ins. Thousands of squatters move into unoccupied buildings. Corsica and Brittany are veritable battlegrounds as separatists intensify terrorist campaigns. The unrest stems from widespread disenchantment with President Valery Giscard d'Estaing's economic policy, which has produced record levels of inflation and unemployment. At 2 a.m. on May 20, a telephone rings in the Elysee Palace. "This is not a joke," says a stern voice. "Please warn the President that if by 6 a.m. he...