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Giraud and the African Scene

by
G. Ward Price

". . . That gallant warrior whom no prison can hold."

— Winston Churchill.

The Author and the Book

George Ward Price (1886‑1961) was a journalist who specialized in military and political news, and at the time he published this book was a special correspondent for the Daily Mail, with which he'd been associated for over thirty years. A political conservative with strong ties to the British fascist movement, and something of an antisemite, during the 1930s he had written a number of laudatory pieces on Nazi Germany and Hitler, who granted him special access: he was the author, for example, of many of the editorials appearing under Lord Rothemere's by-line. Price only soured on the Nazi régime when Germany annexed the Sudetenland in 1938. A detailed look at his successful but unsavoury career can be read at Spartacus Educational.

Like any good journalist, however, he knew how to get access to the movers and shakers of this world, and along with his first‑hand experience of French North Africa both during World War II and many years before, it is this access that makes his book on Giraud and the North African campaign a valuable primary source. General Henri Giraud (1879‑1949), with his impeccable credentials as an honest man and a French patriot who would have no truck with antisemitism or Nazism, was also a solid political conservative and thus congenial to Price, while at the same time a much better man for a British author to hitch his wagon to once Britain was at war with Germany. The photograph of Price and Churchill on p212 speaks volumes, by the way.

Henri Giraud was not a well-known figure in the English-speaking world: in order to make the general's North African campaign intelligible to that audience, Price devotes the first three chapters of Giraud and the African Scene to a summary biography of him, focusing on his famous escapes from German prisons in both world wars (told by the general himself, in much greater detail of course, in his 1946 book Mes évasions, also transcribed in full on this site). This is followed by a chapter on the cast of characters with whom Giraud became involved in the course of the campaign, chief among them Charles de Gaulle; and having thus set the stage, the rest of the book is a good account of the Allied landings in North Africa, the Casablanca Conference of 1943, the Tunisian front, and the political interaction between Giraud and De Gaulle, to all of which Price was an eyewitness.


[image ALT: A facsimile of a handwritten letter with a typed translation.]

Facsimile of letter from General Giraud to author

Contents

page

Foreword

v
Chapter

Personal Background

1

Adventures to the Adventurous

18

The Gamecock Flies the Coop

45

"Men Who Did Not Despair"

65

United States Preparations in North Africa

86

How Giraud and the Allies Came to Africa

108

The Situation After the Allied Landing

138

Giraud Succeeds Darlan

166

Operations in Tunisia

195

American Battles and the Final Victory

222

Tug-of‑War Between Giraud and De Gaulle

242

The Future?

270

Technical Details

Edition and Copyright

The text on this site is my transcription of the book © George Ward Price 1944, published in New York and thus governed by American law; it is therefore in the public domain in the United States since the copyright was not renewed in 1971 or 1972 as required by American law at the time: details here on the copyright law involved. Elsewhere, the work is often under copyright thru the end of 2031, the seventieth year after the death of its author; as is the case especially in Great Britain.

Illustrations

In the printed edition, half of the illustrations are intentionally inserted at more or less suitable places in the text; the rest have no connection with the surrounding text. I've relocated all of them to suit my own sense of logic. The following table provided by the author identifies their original location, while the links of course take you to wherever I put them.

In addition, a map of North Africa is included on the front pastedown of the book, with the roads, railroads, and towns relevant to the text. I reproduce it twice, in Chapters 9 and 10, where the reader would naturally want to follow the text on such a map; colorized to my usual scheme, to make it easier to read.

 p. xi 
Illustrations

The famous handshake at Casablanca

Frontispiece
Page

Facsimile of letter from General Giraud to author

vii
facing

Author in conversation with Mr. Churchill at Casablanca

212

General Giraud

213

The Committee of National Liberation in session at Algiers

244

A typical Goumier, or French North African native soldier

245

Proofreading

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The print edition seems to have been quite well proofread, yet exhibits a number of errors due to the author: most of them involve proper names, which are often unchecked phonetic approximations; or French, which he has every appearance of not speaking. I've corrected them thruout with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read what was actually printed.

The occasional inconsistency in punctuation has been corrected to the author's usual style, in a slightly different color — barely noticeable on the page, but it shows up in the sourcecode as <SPAN CLASS="emend">. Finally, a number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have the printed edition in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is indicated by local links in the sourcecode and made apparent in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line p57 ). Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.



[image ALT: A posed photograph, profile right, of a man of middle age in a military uniform, wearing a mustache, seated at a desk. He is French General Henri Giraud, whose North African service in World War II is the subject of this book.]

The icon I use for this book is a cropped version of its dust jacket, which in turn is based on the photograph of General Giraud at his desk reproduced on p213 of the print edition.


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Page updated: 19 Jun 21