The Memoirs of General Jean V. Allard

The Memoirs of General Jean V. Allard

The Memoirs of General Jean V. Allard

The Memoirs of General Jean V. Allard

Excerpt

Having reached the age at which I could think of writing my memoirs, I felt some concern, like my predecessors in this literary genre. The first issue I briefly grappled with was whether or not the idea itself was worth pursuing. The answer is now known.

Then, there were more down-to-earth issues. For instance, which events should be included in such a work? Once again, my choices were made quickly. Thus, except for Chapter 1, which is devoted to my family origins and my first years of life, my intimate personal life has hardly been touched upon. I have thus generally dealt with the public aspect of my activities, or rather with what I considered to be that public side. Nevertheless, I should state from the outset that I did not avoid facts that many may deem minor. To me, these anecdotes are important. Also, the names of illustrious unknowns are sprinkled throughout the story. Since these people played an important role in my life at some time or other, I felt I had to recognize them "officially," even if they were already well aware of my esteem. I would therefore ask the reader to bear with me on this point.

A final major question: how to say what I had to say? I opted for simplicity. I will know that I have reached my goal -- writing a book accessible to all -- if my comrades in arms, having read it, say that they recognize the man behind the words.

Let me say without hesitation that I am, first and foremost, a man of action, one of those who, aware of the inevitability of criticism, prefer to be criticized for what has been done rather than for what has not been done. My perception of situations, during the more or less lengthy periods of reflection that all must engage in before acting, has not been right all the time. As a result, I have sometimes followed hazardous paths. I have pointed out a few in these chapters. Fortunately, like most people, I have been much less marked by my failures than by the positive events of my life, and it is essentially about the latter that you will learn.

Preparing this manuscript has not been altogether easy. In 1973, I had prepared an outline and written a first chapter based on the general principles I have just stated. However, the fairly active life I was then living made me give up writing. In 1980, when circumstances were more favourable than they had ever been, I slowly took it up again.

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