The wartime memoirs of Count Rene de Chambrun provide a fascinating inside look at the world of some of the most powerful leaders and social figures in America during the turbulent early 1940s. A cousin of President Roosevelt through his Amercian mother, the son-in-law of French prime minister Pierre Laval, and an American citizen by virtue of his direct descent from General de Lafayette, de Chambrun was superbly qualifiied to play an important international role after the German invasion of France.
De Chambrun's life has been marked by controversy. He was married to the daughter of Pierre Laval, the three-time prime minister of France who was shot after the war as an alleged Nazi collaborator. De Chambrun has published four books devoted to clearing his father-in-law's name and defending the Vichy government's compromise with Germany. His own passionate crusade to obtain American food supplies for the millions of refugees in the unoccupied "free" zone of southern France was met with accusations of collaborationism by supporters of General de Gaulle's blockade-incited, de Chambrun believes, by a Soviet sympathizer in Roosevelt's inner circle.
Utilizing the detailed notes he made during that period, de Chambrun recounts the story of his dramatic wartime years, touching casually and affectionately on his intimate relationships with historic personalities.