John Laughland

A master of tactical retreat

The tsar who defeated Napoleon had a surprising amount in common with Charles de Gaulle, according to <em>John Laughland</em>

A fanciful and doubtless risky parallel between Charles de Gaulle and the Russian emperor Alexander I suggested itself while I read Marie-Pierre Rey’s superb new biography of the latter.

Both men came to power through an act of political parricide: Alexander because he was tacitly complicit in the plot to overthrow his father, a plot which ended in Paul’s sordid murder in 1801, strangled with a scarf by the conspirator-courtiers after they discovered him cowering behind a screen in his bedroom; de Gaulle because he rebelled against his former mentor and the undisputed national hero from the Great War, Marshal Pétain, both...

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