In This Review

The Long March of the French Left
The Long March of the French Left
By R.W. Johnson
St. Martin's, 1981, 345 pp

An English don analyzes with wit and acumen the vagaries of the French Left, from Liberation to the defeat of 1978 and the beginnings of a campaign that finally brought the Left to a new phase in the long march. This spirited book, appearing with uncanny timeliness, considers "the decline of Gaullism as a mass force . . . the central political process in the France of the 1970s," but implicitly concludes that after the defeat of 1978, a Left victory seemed unlikely, despite the many factors favoring it. Unlike many a wooden specialist of our day, Johnson grasps and delights in the full panoply of politics: the social, indeed the religious context, the role of leadership and human foibles, the ideological component, and electoral behavior.