Maurice Thorez (1900-1964) was a major figure in the history of twentieth-century France and European Communism for over three decades. Under his leadership, the French Communist Party (PCF) became France's largest political party and one of the most important communist parties in the West.Born in a mining village, Thorez left school at the age of 12 and would go on to helm the PCF in a rapid rise that paralleled Stalin's consolidation of power in the Soviet Union. After World War II, he became a minister, and briefly deputy prime minister, before the Cold War excluded communists from political power. The PCF became known as 'the party of Maurice Thorez', as a leader cult around Thorez was created that mirrored the cult of personality' around Stalin. This book is based on a wealth of original source material, including Thorez's diaries and notebooks. John Bulaitis outlines how Thorez's political life intersected with and was shaped by key historical events. At its heart, the book explores the paradox of the mass communist movement in France: its ability to fuse attachment to the French nation with fervent loyalty to the Soviet Union and Stalinist practices.