Charles de Gaulle is perphaps one of the most enigmatic figures of World War II. Misunderstood by both the British and Americans during post WWII period, he ended up greatly disliked in both countries. De Gaulle's memoirs, however, are an important source to more throughly understand the second world war. He tells the story of a France in a virtual state of civil war after the collaspe of France and the establishment of the Petain regime at Vichy. This civil war was fought in the outer reaches of the French Empire- Dakar, Lebanon, Syria, Chad, Indochina, etc. It tells a depressing story of how most of the French remained loyal to Vichy. De Gaulle recounts how in 1940 he made a speech before 2,000 French soliders stranded in England. H He pleaded with them to join his Free French army. He was only able to convince 200 to join. He recounts how the Vichy French army fought with greater vigor against fellow Frenchmen and the British then they did against the Nazis. He writes the history of how a people deeply depressed by war and defeatism slowly raises itself for the struggle against Germany. Without doubt, De Gaulle's perserverence provided France with some cover of honour to assuage its sense of national shame and guilt. De Gaulle takes us through the Empire, his challenges in remaining relevant to the British and the overt hostility of the Americans who remained loyal to Petain until 1943. The translation is good. The inclusion of maps of the Empire would have been useful. As with other memoirs, such as those of Mussolini, Admiral Horthy, Churchill, etc. this is a must read for the student of the 1940s. One note is that strategically, De Gaulle, like Churchill, was an imperial optimist. Both were convinced that once the war with Germany became a world war, time and the vast resources (both in men and material) available in their respective Empires would provide Great Britain and France with decided advantages against the Axis. As history was to demonstrate, both men's optimism were proven correct.