Max Gallo: Proud to be French

Historians in the News

Max Gallo, the waspish and prolific historian who has penned vivid portraits of ex-emperor Napoleon and former president Charles de Gaulle, has had enough of the country's "self-flagellation".

In a new polemic, entitled PROUD to be French (sic), Gallo glories in the virtues of France's republican model and the innate wisdom of its peoples.

As the son of an Italian immigrant, Gallo has a preference for pasta and parmesan over poulet. But he expresses immense pride in a country that has allowed him to realise his ambitions.

At a press conference to publicise his essay, Gallo questioned why the government had last year sent an aircraft carrier to help the British celebrate the bicentenary of the French defeat at Trafalgar while ignoring the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's most brilliant victory,over Austria and Russia at Austerlitz.

The culprits? The pampered, self-loathing, Parisian political elite that is so disconnected from the people. Does Gallo think that anything will change following the 2007 presidential elections?

"I am sure of only one law of history: the law of surprises,"he says enigmatically.

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