"A balanced, yet critical, review of Mitterrand's fourteen-year presidency. Friend has crowned a long career as an expert on French politics with this astute analysis and assessment of a decisive chapter in the history of French Socialism. This is contemporary history at its best." —Richard Kuisel SUNY, Stony Brook "An intelligent and highly readable account of the Mitterrand years that, Friend argues, have changed the political landscape of France. ... A very good example of instant history" —Fritz Stern Foreign Affairs In this informed and balanced treatment of recent French history, Julius Friend analyzes the changes, successes, and failures in the long and checkered record of the former French president, Francois Mitterrand. Extensive interviews with French politicians and intellectuals complement his original research. Mitterrand was in office longer than any other democratic president, but Friend asks lis to consider the legacy of such a term. Elected in 1981 on a platform of radical reorganization of the French economy and society, Mitterrand was compelled to change policy within two years. Conventional austerity replaced socialist measures, and his second term was spotted by scandal and weakened by illness. The Mitterrand era saw the end of French hopes to be first among equals in Western Europe; instead, Mitterrand inaugurated a partnership with unified Germany in the European Union.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Genesis -- Socialism in One Common Market Country -- Thirty-Six Months at the Center -- From Confrontation to Cohabitation -- Cohabitation -- Mitterrand II -- Successes, Failures, Question Marks -- The Economics of Socialism and Un-Socialism -- Foreign Policy: 1981–1995 -- The Meaning of Mitterrand