France's opposition to the Iraq war in 2003 was greeted with surprise and outrage by Anglo-American politicians. But as David Styan argues in his penetrating new book, Chirac's stance was consistent with a decades-long reorientation of French foreign policy. Styan dissects the processes by which a country notorious for its suppression of Algerian independence came to cast itself as the anti-imperialist champion of the Arab world. Styan charts France's divergence from the other Western powers in its relations with Iraq, uncovering the interplay between historical relationships, military industrial interests and geopolitics, which gave rise to it. Negotiating these currents are a range of vivid personalities from De Gaulle to Mitterrand.