December 3, 2010

Que preferez-vous, Winnie or Tony?


Here’s an interesting report from Agence France Presse :

One was a grumpy Atlanticist who clashed with General De Gaulle, the other a slick French-speaker who saw a Britain “at the heart of Europe“, but the French still prefer Winston Churchill over Tony Blair.

It seems that, judging by book sales, Churchill is a far more interesting and popular figure to the French people than Tony Blair is. The AFP story continues:

A new French translation by historian Francois Kersaudy of Churchill’s own memoir has seen its first volume, covering 1919-1941, sell 48,000 copies and its second covering 1941-1945 another 33,000 in a year.

And Kersaudy’s own biography of the World War II leader — Winston Churchill, the power of the imagination — had already sold 50,000 copies.

That’s a lot of Churchill. Sadly, Blair is not doing so well in la France. Actually he can’t hold a candle to the long-dead Prime Minister. According to the AFP, “British publishing sensation Tony Blair’s, A Journey, has sold only 40,000 copies in France, despite the leader’s memoir becoming a bestseller in much of the rest of the world.”

Trans-Channel relations have always been a bit opaque to this Yank. But I have to agree with the French on this one–it’s Winnie hands down.

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.