• The General

  • Charles De Gaulle and the France He Saved
  • By: Jonathan Fenby
  • Narrated by: Robin Bloodworth
  • Length: 28 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-15-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.8 (65 ratings)

Regular price: $39.95

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Publisher's Summary

No leader of modern times was more uniquely patriotic than Charles de Gaulle. As founder and first president of the Fifth Republic, General de Gaulle saw himself as "carrying France on [his] shoulders." In his 20s, he fought for France in the trenches and at the epic battle of Verdun. In the 1930s, he waged a lonely battle to enable France to better resist Hitler's Germany. Thereafter, he twice rescued the nation from defeat and decline by extraordinary displays of leadership, political acumen, daring, and bluff, heading off civil war and leaving a heritage adopted by his successors of right and left.
Le Général, as he became known from 1940 on, appeared as if he was carved from a single monumental block, but was in fact extremely complex, a man with deep personal feelings and recurrent mood swings, devoted to his family and often seeking reassurance from those around him.
This is a magisterial, sweeping biography of one of the great leaders of the 20th century and of the country with which he so identified himself. Written with terrific verve, narrative skill, and rigorous detail, the first major work on de Gaulle in 15 years brings alive as never before the private man as well as the public leader through exhaustive research and analysis.
©2012 Jonathan Fenby (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By marigoyle on 10-23-13

Book Great Read. Narrator Horrible-slow dead voice

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

The BOOK is great. It moves fast and is well written. I will continue reading it with great joy. But I will NOT buy another Audible book because this was so dreadful. You need readers who bring a book alive, not readers who totally annihilate a book

What was most disappointing about Jonathan Fenby’s story?

Nothing was disappointing in the story, only with the narrator. It's a wonderful book when I read it myself. Audible destroys this book.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His voice is dead. Little inflection. Very slow and over-pronounced. Almost like a computer reading the story, but frankly, Siri is MUCH better.

I expected an animated reading that I could play as I drive, but this reading is so horrible, that I'd fall asleep in 3 minutes.

This could be a dry book, considering it is a historical documentary. When I read it myself (and I could read the whole book by the time this reader has finished section 1 of 4-5 sections) it is lively and exciting.

Imagine books as documentaries: is the narrator lively? Does he make the story come alive? Does he keep your interest? Do you wait breathlessly for the next chapter?

That's what is needed here. However, with this narrator, I'd quickly change the channel.

What character would you cut from The General?

None. Great story. History. Documentary. I'd find a good narrator.

Any additional comments?

Please give me a refund. I couldn't bear going beyond 10 minutes.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By CHET YARBROUGH on 08-11-14


Jonathan Fenby, in "The General" shows Charles de Gaulle as the first among twentieth century French patriots. During Hitler’s rise to power, de Gaulle (like Winston Churchill) argues against appeasement. While leaders, Lebrun and Daladier in France and Neville Chamberlain in England kowtow to Hitler, de Gaulle and Churchill stand against the majority of their respective countrymen.

Fenby shows de Gaulle to have been a man out of his time but clearly in tune with a great nation’s history. France’s defeat by Hitler is assuaged by a leader that understood his countrymen. Fenby explains how the myth and truth of de Gaulle returns France to a nation among nations; a nation to be respected and consulted in the affairs of the world. Fenby shows Charles de Gaulle as a prickly leader in the eyes of American Presidents, Russian leaders, and English Prime Ministers but with a weak hand from defeat in WWII, de Gaulle stands tall for the France he clearly loved.

"The General" is a must listen for those who wish to have some understanding of a big part of French’ interests and culture.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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