Book. “Politics is a band story”he launched to Jean Lacouture, a few months after his election of 1981. François Mitterrand knew what he was talking about, having always had the cult of friendship. “Whoever entered the circle never left it”, repeated Jacques Attali, his former adviser. It is of one ” strip “, remained in the shadows when it was essential and dear to the socialist, that the journalist Sébastien Le Fol portrays here. They were four: Francois Mitterrand; Pierre de Bénouville, figure of the Resistance, RPR deputy, éminence grise of Marcel Dault; André Bettencourt, minister of De Gaulle and Pompidou, second French fortune (by his wife, Liliane); and François Dalle, the emblematic boss of L’Oréal. “Four provincial bourgeois”from the Catholic and conservative right, sometimes extreme, “four musketeers” for better (adolescence, literature, loyalty) and for worse (Vichy, business ties), four childhood friends, in life and in death.
Mitterrand met Bénouville at the Saint-Paul college in Angoulême; Dalle and Bettencourt, a little later, at the famous “104”, the home of the Marist brothers in the rue de Vaugirard, where, like Mauriac before him, he was a boarder when he arrived in Paris, from 1934. Then they never are more left, the last three having accompanied the ascent of the first to the Elysée. “Don’t be fooled by appearances, François is one of us. The French have elected the last right-wing president but they do not know it”slipped, to reure his bourgeois friends, Pierre de Bénouville, trained in Cagoulard and Maurrian circles.
In an organized gang, which is based on unpublished archives, is the fruit of an inhabited, patient (more than ten years) and meticulous investigation, in chiaroscuro. The author (editorialist at Telegramformer managing editor of Point) traces this particular companionship, forged in faded memories, pre-war ideologies, sulfur and “shared secrets”. In hollow, it recounts the transformation of Mitterrand into a man of the left, at the cost of ellipses and lies, of a legend skilfully woven with the help of these three friends, who helped him to erase the traces of the past. “Only Bénouville, Dalle and Bettencourt knew what he looked like without his disguise. Besides, they never believed in his metamorphosis. But in public they agree to play the scenario he has imagined. The end justifies the means “writes Le Fol.
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