The real story of the Occupation uncovers a reality more complex, more human and ultimately more moving than the myths which have grown after the event. Defeat in 1940 left the French so demoralized that they readily supported the Vichy regime, committed not just to pragmatic collaborations but to finding scapegoats for the nations disgrace. Jews and Communitsts because the chief victims of a witch-hunt which left plenty of scope for private grudges as well. Resistance came late: the Occupation was fourteen months old before the first German solider was killed. The public mood changed only as the Reich's original correctness gave way to brutality, and as events outside France prefigured possible German defeat. But even as Liberation approached, resistance was far from being the mass army of later myth. Different visions of who should inherit France complicated the pursuit of collaborators and foreshadowed the chaos of post-war politics. During the Occupation selfishness, bigotry and cowardice played parts as great as courage and idealism. They left a 'poisoned memory' which persists even today. But others should not feel superior.In such an ordeal, who can claim they would have done better?
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"A brilliantly written book, the first history - social and cultural as well as political and military - of the Occupation to be published in English for the general reader." (Peter Walker Independent on Sunday)
"The first such study in English...long-overdue, informed, sensitive, balanced and insightful...Ousby carefully delineates the causes and consequences...seeking neither to blame nor praise but, in the best traditions of biography - and this is virtually a political biography of a nation in trauma - seeking to understand...A work of judicious empathy and calm, persuasive moral authority. We who were not there should be grateful." (Alan Judd Sunday Times)
"A compelling account...His book is a valuable distillation culled from the vast amount of literature on the subject available in French, and it provides a wealth of intriguing detail about daily life and contemporary attitudes." (Euan Cameron Independent)
"He has a gift for evoking concretely how life was lived and how the world looked...A reliable and moving evocation of the dilemmas of ordinary life during France's most unendurable years." (Robert O. Paxton Times Literary Supplement)
Ian Ousby wrote widely on subjects both English and French. His recent books include The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English and Occupation: The Ordeal of France 1940-1944, which won the 1997 Edith McLeod Literary Prize, given annually to the British book which 'has contributed most to Franco-British understanding', and the 1997 Stern Silver PEN Award for Non-fiction. He died in August 2001.
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Description du livre Pimlico, 1999. Paperback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire P110712665137