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The National Front and French Politics: The Resistible Rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen

The National Front and French Politics: The Resistible Rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen
By Jonathan Marcus
212 pp, New York University Press, 1995
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All you ever wanted to know about Jean-Marie Le Pen's astonishing career and the rise of his National Front--the only far-right movement in post--World War II France that has both lasted and grown to alarming proportions. Marcus, a BBC correspondent, has analyzed with great perceptiveness the reasons for Le Pen's success, which are complex: the leader's communication skills, his deftness in exploiting xenophobic prejudices and resentments, the breaks he got from FranHois Mitterand (here, as in other matters, a master of ambiguity whose multiple calculations ended up too clever by half), and the very diversity of the ideological currents Le Pen has managed to keep together. Marcus shows that Le Pen's appeal is wide, that the National Front has succeeded in putting down roots at the local as well as the national level, and that its agenda has influenced the program of the moderate right on such issues as immigration, citizenship, and national security. Marcus also compares the rise of the National Front with the far right's situation in other European countries, and wonders about the fate of Le Pen's party after Le Pen disappears from the scene.