Max Gallo Criticism - Essay

John P. Reid (review date 5 May 1972)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Robespierre the Incorruptible: A Psychobiography, in Commonweal, Vol. XCVI, No. 9, May 5, 1972, pp. 219-20.

[In the following review, Reid favorably assesses Robespierre the Incorruptible, contending that it is a laudable study of the psychological aspects of Robespierre's character.]

The French Revolution was the first major political upheaval in the entire history of the Western nations to deserve the revolutionary epithet. This distinction says more about the relative inconsequence of centuries of successive and diverse political change and development than it does about the depth and seriousness of the events of 1789 and the years...

(The entire section is 959 words.)

Robert E. O'Brien (review date 1 August 1972)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of The Night of Long Knives, in Best Sellers, Vol. 32, No. 9, August 1, 1972, pp. 213-14.

[In the following favorable review of The Night of Long Knives, O'Brien discusses Gallo's use of historical documentation as a basis for understanding why Hitler liquidated several powerful allies.]

"The Führer himself is law and justice." It must be true that the will of the sovereign has the force of law, even if the sovereign is tyrant, or madman, or both. The above quotation is part of the writings of the Nazi jurist, Karl Schmitt, in justification of the wave of murder and assassination by which Hitler broke the power of the SA,...

(The entire section is 546 words.)

Joseph C. Harsch (review date 23 August 1972)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Nazi History: The Haphazard Purge," in Christian Science Monitor, August 23, 1972, p. 11.

[Harsch was a journalist, news correspondent, and author of books on contemporary world politics. In the following favorable review of The Night of Long Knives, he comments on Gallo's literary style and his utilization of the historical record.]

Reporters called it "the night of the long knives." It happened in Germany on the night of June 29-30 in 1934 when Adolph Hitler allowed his fascist revolution to devour its own original children.

The devouring was a savage, ruthless, vindictive affair. What was conceived of as a means of purging the Nazi...

(The entire section is 550 words.)

Joseph Lee (review date 28 April 1973)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Joseph Lee on Interpretations of Hitler, the Man," in The Spectator, Vol. 230, No. 7557, April 28, 1973, pp. 523-24.

[In the following excerpt of a review of several books on Hitler, Lee examines The Night of Long Knives, focusing on its literary style and historical credibility.]

Hitler is much the most fascinating politician of twentieth-century Europe. Stalin, with whom he is frequently compared, faced far fewer problems. Stalin never had to worry about his public. They were already prisoners of a system which Stalin had merely to capture, not to create. Hitler, on the other hand, had to woo a mass electorate, and intrigue for power from outside...

(The entire section is 1299 words.)

The Times Literary Supplement (review date 13 July 1973)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of The Night of Long Knives, in The Times Literary Supplement, No. 3723, July 13, 1973, p. 817.

[The following is a mixed review of The Night of Long Knives.]

The dramatic story of Hitler's purge of the SA on the night of June 29-30, 1934 is told by Max Gallo [in The Night of Long Knives] in a detailed "scenario in which time shifts both forward and backward, the past flowing into the present, the present moment containing the past", in an attempt "to recreate events not only in terms of general causes and political mechanisms, but also by evoking the attitudes, thoughts and faces of the various actors and … the skies and landscapes which set the scene". His sources are given only in general terms and it is difficult to assess what is vouched for and what imagined in this reconstruction. His presentation is effective, and the events of the June and July days of 1934, when not only Roehm and the other SA leaders but also Schleicher and a number of miscellaneous enemies of the SS were liquidated, are shown in the perspective of Hitler's Deutschland pact with the Reichswehr and his subsequent assumption a few weeks later of complete control of the Reich as Hindenburg's successor Head of State. The plates include a number of unusual photographs which illustrate the story excellently, and the translation is smooth, though the historic present which is so convincing in French tends to jar on the English ear. The flash-back, flash-forward technique gives all that is required by a reader coming fresh to the story, but it needs all his concentration if he is not to be confused by the almost overwhelming detail of this Sekundenstil.

The Times Literary Supplement (review date 2 November 1973)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Caudillo: A Strategy for Survival," in The Times Literary Supplement, No. 3739, November 2, 1973, p. 1336.

[In the following review, the critic favorably assesses Spain under Franco, applauding its detailed history of Francisco Franco's rise to power but faulting its examination of the inner workings of the Franco government.]

General Franco has long enjoyed favourable publicity in England. During the Spanish Civil War he was described by conservative and Catholic commentators as a crusader against barbarism, a defender of Western Civilization. In 1937, Douglas Jerrold wrote in his Georgian Adventure that Franco was "a supremely good man, a...

(The entire section is 1502 words.)

Elbridge Colby (review date 1 February 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Spain under Franco, in Best Sellers, Vol. 33, No. 21, February 1, 1974, pp. 482-83.

[Colby was an educator, journalist, and author of books about contemporary world politics. In the following review of Spain under Franco, he comments on Gallo's journalistic style and his mixing of historical fact with personal opinion.]

Having recently published a detailed and perceptive volume by this author on Italy under Mussolini, Dutton now comes along with a translation from the French of the same author's history of the Spanish under Franco. (The translation [of Spain under Franco] by Jean Stewart is done with all the ease of original...

(The entire section is 593 words.)

C. F. Latour (review date March 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of The Night of Long Knives, in American Political Science Review, Vol. LXVIII, No. 1, March, 1974, pp. 300-01.

[In the following review, Latour states that despite some faults, The Night of Long Knives "is a fine tale of horror for the general reader."]

The Night of Long Knives by Max Gallo chronicles the liquidation of Ernst Röhm and associates, the destruction of the SA as an element of revolutionary political power in the Nazi state, and the gangland slaying of uncounted victims of political or personal vendettas carried out with great verve on June 29-30, 1934 by men then grasping for ascendancy in Hitler's regime…....

(The entire section is 398 words.)

Kurt J. Frohlich (review date 6 April 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Dream of Empire, Again," in The Nation, New York, Vol. 218, No. 14, April 6, 1974, pp. 441-43.

[In the following review, Frohlich applauds Gallo's command of contemporary history in Mussolini's Italy.]

When on June 13, 1921, Mussolini, as deputy of the young Fascist Party, rose in the Italian Parliament and declared, "We deny that the history of mankind can be explained by economic determinism," he repudiated his Socialist past and opened the way for his new role. Italy with its colorful history of varied forms of small duchies and city republics had never lacked swashbuckling condottieri, and Professor Gallo in his book [Mussolini's Italy]...

(The entire section is 1402 words.)

José M. Sánchez (review date 18 May 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Spain under Franco, in America, Vol. 130, No. 19, May 18, 1974, pp. 403-04.

[Sánchez is an educator and author of books about Spanish politics and religion. In the following favorable review of Spain under Franco, he applauds Gallo's writing style and use of historical detail while faulting his one-sided view of Francisco Franco.]

At age 81, Francisco Franco has managed to stay in absolute power in Spain for 35 years, longer than any Spanish executive since Philip V in the early 18th century. He has controlled one of the most politically volatile people in Europe with threats and blandishments, but he has managed to stay on top....

(The entire section is 498 words.)

Edgar Lustgarten (review date July 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Demon into Clown," in Books and Bookmen, Vol. 19, No. 10, July 1974, p. 46.

[Lustgarten is a freelance writer and broadcaster. In the following review of Mussolini's Italy, he favorably assesses Gallo's writing style, historical competence, and biographical skill.]

Was Mussolini a Fascist? Or a Socialist? Or an Anarchist? In fits and starts, by twists and turns, all three. That, at any rate, would appear from the bare record of his political acts, his formal declarations. But [in Mussolini's Italy] Max Gallo's vivid portrait is that of a character less complex, and—in one sense—more consistent. He depicts Mussolini as an opportunist;...

(The entire section is 1126 words.)

The Times Literary Supplement (review date 2 August 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Mussolini's Italy, in The Times Literary Supplement, No. 3778, August 2, 1974, p. 828.

[In the following review, the critic favorably comments on Mussolini's Italy, contending that it is good "popular" history.]

Max Gallo's book [Mussolini's Italy] does not claim to offer a distinctive interpretation of Mussolini and Fascism; it relies almost completely on secondary sources. M Gallo has written an unashamedly "popular" history, and his book should be judged in those terms. It is, in effect, a series of dramatic set-pieces linked by narrative; it ranges from Mussolini's errant and itinerant youth and early manhood, through the...

(The entire section is 369 words.)

Publishers Weekly (review date 19 August 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of With the Victors, in Publishers Weekly, Vol. 206, No. 8, August 19, 1974, p. 74.

[In the following review, the critic favorably assesses With the Victors.]

In this sensitive account, history and conjecture are imaginatively interwoven in the story of Marco Naldi, son of an Italian landowner. [With the Victors] begins in the fall of 1917 at the time of the Italian defeat at Caporetto. Marco's father is killed in the war and he is gruffly befriended by Ferri, one of his father's contemporaries, who later becomes a prominent Fascist. Marco enlists in the army in his father's place and also makes friends with Alatri, a Communist. In the...

(The entire section is 198 words.)

The New York Times Book Review (review date 6 October 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of With the Victors, in The New York Times Book Review, October 6, 1974, p. 40.

[In the following unfavorable review, the critic assesses Gallo's literary style and development of characters in With the Victors.]

[In With the Victors] Max Gallo's Marco Naldi is one of those superheroes, like Robert Briffault's Julien Bern or Upton Sinclair's Lanny Budd, who leads a panoramic life on the stage of history. He meets world leaders in person, and makes the scene of big political happenings. Naldi starts as a lieutenant in the Arditi after Caporetto, and joins the fascist movement when the war is over. He becomes an aide to Mussolini's...

(The entire section is 290 words.)

Anne Hollander (review date 30 November 1974)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of The Poster in History, in Saturday Review, Vol. 2, No. 6, November 30, 1974, pp. 20-2, 24-5.

[Hollander is a lecturer in fine arts and author of the book Moving Pictures (1989). In the following excerpt, she reviews The Poster in History, contending that the book is a "sloppy treatment" of the subject.]

Poster art has a separate history, although, as we have seen, serious artists have lent their talents to the genre. The Poster in History, by Max Gallo …, is authored by a French historian of journalistic, rather than scholarly, accomplishments who has no art-historical background to speak of. The posters illustrating...

(The entire section is 244 words.)

Virginia Crosby (review date February 1975)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Le cortège des vainqueurs, in French Review, Vol. XLVIII, No. 3, February, 1975, pp. 664-65.

[In the following review of Le cortège des vainqueurs, Crosby praises the book's detailed historical setting and literary style but faults the poor character development.]

Sealed off by time from any further physical or moral actions of significance, an old man turns toward the past and to an accumulated sum of events whose finality is an accusing silence. In writing his life for his son Philippe, Marco Naldi is attempting to reach a young man he has never known and, at the same time, to release his spent life from the opacity of...

(The entire section is 688 words.)

Nancy M. O'Connor (review date October 1979)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Les hommes naissent tous le même jour 1: Aurore, in The French Review, Vol. 53, No. 1, October, 1979, pp. 151-52.

[In the following review of Les hommes naissent tous le même jour 1; Aurore, O'Connor favorably assesses the book's literary style and plot but faults the character development.]

Max Gallo is a frequent contributor to the book review section of L'Express, and is well known as an historian of the Fascist years in Europe. Eight long novels written and published in the course of the last six years also make him a remarkably prolific novelist, and a successful one to judge by the regularity with which his books figure...

(The entire section is 694 words.)

Danielle Chavy Cooper (review date Summer 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of La fontaine des innocents, in World Literature Today, Vol. 67, No. 3, Summer, 1993, pp. 583-84.

[In the following review of La fontaine des innocents, Cooper favorably assesses its plot, themes, and characters.]

On two levels, both factual and symbolic, the title of Max Gallo's massive new novel [La fontaine des innocents]—his nineteenth—solidly anchors the work in today's Paris, intimately allying the traditional and the new, as it is in the Halles district where the eponymous fountain is located. The very structure and development of Gallo's powerful novel as well as its overall theme are closely linked to the famous...

(The entire section is 859 words.)

Danielle Chavy Cooper (review date Autumn 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of L'amour au temps des solitudes, in World Literature Today, Vol. 67, No. 4, Autumn, 1993, p. 772.

[In the following favorable review, Cooper comments on the character development and the mixture of history and fiction in L'amour au temps des solitudes.]

Over the last three decades Max Gallo has enjoyed a nonstop literary career, in both fiction and nonfiction, with some fifty titles to his credit, including best sellers and Livre de Poche reissues. As in his preceding novel, La Fontaine des Innocents … L'amour au temps des solitudes again intertwines contemporary history and fiction. "Tout y est imaginaire," the author declares. "Et...

(The entire section is 749 words.)

Richard Kopp (review date October 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Le regard des femmes, in The French Review, Vol. 67, No. 1, October, 1993, pp. 160-61.

[Kopp is an educator and author of books about French literature. In the following favorable review, he comments on the plot, themes, and literary style of Le regard des femmes.]

Max Gallo appears fascinated by the relationship between the public and private elements which make up human existence. He is capable of introducing the public individual and uncovering the hitherto unknown private facts which explain the public persona, but in the same manner he is capable of introducing the private individual and explaining the public facts not known previously...

(The entire section is 563 words.)