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Free Frances Lion: The Life of Phillippe Leclerc, de Gaulles Greatest General Hardcover – 19 Nov 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate (19 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612000681
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612000688
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 523,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Almost everyone knows of De Gaulle's wartime exploits and, as interested in French Second World War history as I am, I'm embarrassed to write that I for one know little beyond the 'headlines' of Phillippe Leclerc's brief life.

This book ends that. Detailled but never getting bogged down, this is an excellent, well written and above all readable biography.

If you are interested in the regular Free French Forces in the Second World War or just wonder what could have happened if Leclerc had made different choices then this book is for you.
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Format: Hardcover
Well written account of the greatest of the "Free French" Generals, Mr Mortimer Account is a joy to read: lively, entertaining and rather instructive. Some mistakes come here and there, but all in all, the narrative flows effortessly keeping the reader in a grip. Moreover, it is a highly instructive lecture, specially in the part of General Leclerc's tenure as GOC Chad, which brings light to a rather obscure part of the North Africa Campaigns, which is largely ignored by other sources than the french ones, which the writer uses thoroughly. All in all ,a worthy and useful addition to any WW2 library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this one. It is nicely written and the subject matter is interesting. I've read a lot about Vichy and quite a bit about General de Gaulle and the Free French movement, so this book was a good follow on from earlier reading material.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8f62f1f8) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f46fd74) out of 5 stars Flawed but still great. 25 April 2012
By James K. Burk - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The title of this review refers both to Mr. Moore's book and the character of Philippe LeClerc. I do wish the author had done more research, as another reviewer blasted him for not doing, but waiting for a "serious historian" to write a biography of LeClerc would have been even more disappointing. LeClerc is one of the most unjustly ignored figures of World War II, easily a match for Patton or Rommel, and I believe it's because most American and British historians are too bound up in their own nations' heroes to look at the contributions of the French and, more specifically, LeClerc.
Born of an aristocratic family and devoutly Catholic with a conservative bent, LeClerc would seem to have been the sort to collaborate with the Germans after the fall of France in 1940, but he always adapted and grew. One of his most praiseworthy qualities was that he gave his respect to no one but allowed anyone to earn it. He was a military man to his fingertips but always looked beyond it to the world in which he lived. And I'm forced to wonder how the postwar history of France might have been different had he not died in a plane crash.
Despite the book's flaws, I urge readers to give it a look.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f604198) out of 5 stars A tremendous disappointment 13 Nov. 2011
By M. Pitcavage - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this book with eagerness, because I am interested in France in World War II and there are so few works in English on this subject. I certainly made a mistake. The author, William Mortimer Moore, is an advertising copywriter and novelist and has never written a work of history before. It shows. It is clear he has no idea how to write a serious work of biography. In attempting this book on Leclerc, Moore did not consult a single archival source. Not one. He read none of Leclerc's personal papers. He read none of Leclerc's official reports. He read none of the papers of the Free French armed forces that involved Leclerc. He consulted no papers of any of Leclerc's superiors, subordinates, relatives, or comrades-in-arms. He read none of the easily accessible documents in the National Archives of the various American commands to which Leclerc's armored division was subordinated. In short, he consulted NONE of the sources that any serious historian would have done.

What did he consult instead? If one looks at his endnotes, one quickly discovers that the bulk of this book is simply cribbed from a couple of French language biographies of Leclerc. The other sources are various printed primary sources (such as memoirs) or secondary works. Unfortunately, Moore did not even do a good job looking at the printed literature. He includes a number of dubious works that most historians would not cite, such as Osprey books, and he clearly did not consult a huge--I mean a huge--number of secondary sources that any halfway competent historian would have, not even those available in English.

Shame on Casemate for accepting this manuscript; shame on Moore for attempting to write a biography without doing any serious work.

Buyer beware.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f46ff84) out of 5 stars French 2nd Armored Division 28 Nov. 2011
By K.Schneider - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent biography about a forgotten Military Figure Major General Phillippe Francois Marie comte de Hauteclocque or better know as Maj.Gen. Leclerc the commander of the famed 2nd Fr. Armd Div. of WW2.

This book is simple excellent, it take a bit of getting use to the french terms and names being used. But once you get in to reading about the great figure it won't make a different.

The impact this man made on the "Free French Forces" is unbeleivable. Take your time and read this book, I bought it on my kindle and i had a hard time putting it down I want to see what was next in his life.

It is a very intest book to read, but as I have said before well worth it!!!!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f6041d4) out of 5 stars Rigorous enough for me 21 Nov. 2011
By C. Bryan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found the book entertaining and enlightening, having first read a book about de Gaulle, in which I found a paucity of revelations about Leclerc. I did find some amusing misspellings (or using nearly the right word) and mistranslations ("ke cera, cera"!)in the book. The writing was good throughout and gave a gripping account of a very great man who sought to move the earth from his place to stand in the Sahara. This book is worthwhile to read and part of an interesting backdrop to my personal service in Vietnam. Having read Churchill, Lidell Hart, Masters, Von Mellenthin, Crisp, and a number of other authors on the Second World War, I appreciate this book. Criticisms of the book seem to be confined to sources used, but not of errors in fact. Thanks to the author.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f6045c4) out of 5 stars Insight into the Free French and the fight to liberate France from the perspective of one of its greatest heroes. 31 Oct. 2014
By Little Dickens - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well-written objective biography of a French hero of WWII. Includes details of his family history and personal life throughout his military career as well as battle strategies and relationships with soldiers, other Allied officers, de Gaulle, etc. Well researched and presented. I particularly appreciated the inclusion of French military terms, expressions not easily translatable into English, and excerpts from letters and speeches.
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