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The Cruel Victory Hardcover – 5 Jun 2014

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Frequently Bought Together

The Cruel Victory + A Brilliant Little Operation: The Cockleshell Heroes and the Most Courageous Raid of World War 2 + A Fortunate Life: The Autobiography of Paddy Ashdown
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins; 1st Edition edition (5 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007520808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007520800
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Excellent in showing how men across France mobilised. For Ashdown, Vercors is the “hidden story of D-Day” and he tells it with panache and great attention to detail.’ Sunday Express

‘A powerful account of an extraordinary story.’ The Times

‘A fine account.’ 5*, Daily Telegraph

‘Paddy Ashdown has produced not only the most thorough history to date of the Resistance in the Vercors, but also the startling new contention that, ‘The Germans did not win on the Vercors. They lost.’ Written with pace, the detail is fine… and Ashdown is well-placed to write this book, which requires an understanding of military strategy, diplomacy and political shenanigans, as well as old fashioned story telling skill.’ Spectator

Praise for A Brilliant Little Operation:

‘The story of Operation Frankton is an extreme example of a plan brilliantly conceived and badly botched. The ten commandos who made a secret canoe raid in 1942 on German merchant ships have become icons of British wartime derring-do.’ The Times

‘No doubt many more books will be written about the war, but I hope this becomes a model for them since, though the heroism of our boys is stirring stuff, history only makes real sense if you can see it from all sides.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Paddy Ashdown has sifted the facts from the myths to write a fascinating and very personal account.’ Independent

‘It moves at the pace of a thriller and it’s real’ Nick Ferrari, Sunday Express

‘Ashdown’s insights and his extensive research in an impressive range of archives will ensure that yet another work on the subject will not be required in the foreseeable future’ Times Literary Supplement

‘A moving chronicle, Ashdown brings his own military experience to telling the tragic story of Vercors’ BBC History magazine

About the Author

After service as a Royal Marine Commando Officer and a commander of a Special Boat Service unit in the Far East, Paddy Ashdown served as a diplomat in the Foreign Office before, in due course, being elected as the Member of Parliament for Yeovil, serving in that capacity from 1983 to 2001. In 1988 he became leader of the Liberal Democrats, standing aside after eleven years of leading his Party. Later he was appointed as the international community’s High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, serving from 2002 to 2006. He is the author of many books, including A Brilliant Little Operation which won the British Army Military History prize for 2013.


Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hobnails on 31 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a birthday present; its content has been a revelation for me.
I live in South West France, in an region that was a hotbed of Maquis activity and a few kilometres from a martyred village yet I had never heard of the Battle of Vercors and its contribution to the liberation of France before I red this book.
It is painstakingly researched and if biased in any direction it is towards those who fought and died and those who fought and survived the Battle of the Vercors. The story of the Vercors painfully illustrates the 'seat of the pants' planning and decision making by those controlling the forthcoming invasions of France- North and South. That the Vercors should rise to occupy German forces, drawing them away from the landing beaches is a most laudable and sensible policy. That it should be bungled by those in charge bears testimony to the egocentric agendas of the leaders of the time. This book should rightly become the definitive history of the Vercors in WW2. Before that it needs to go through a rather 'fine mesh' editing process. There are typographical errors that should not be present in a book of this quality. Proof reader and executive editor take five hundred lines - I must do better!. Lord Ashdown's prose is not conducive to an easy, flowing read. He writes as he thinks and his mercurial mind can deal with more than one topic at a time and this shows in the book by combining separate, but related ideas in parenthesis within a sentence occupyig the reader's mind with something else. It is jarring. Same 500 lines for you copy editor and make it a round thousand for the executive editor.
This is a major work in spite of the publishing errors and deserves to be widely read. It sets out to fill the gap in the history of D-Day and the liberation of France.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richie on 22 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thoroughly researched account of a tragic mistake caused by unforgivable confusion and indecision in London and Algiers and to a degree by pig-headedness among the Maquisards themselves. It is a very detailed narrative especially in relation to the people involved and the geography of the Vercors which I found worked best for me if I did not try to retain all of the detail but just let the 'story' flow. I do feel that too long was spent on the political and military comings and goings prior to D-day and that these could have been given in more succinct form without any loss of understanding of what led to the tragedy that was the Vercors.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mags on 18 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A story that needed to be told, it intertwines the personal experiences of the French resistance fighters in the Vercors with the largely inept and frequently shameful actions (or should I say inactions) of the allied politicians and service chiefs. As with other books I have read recently, it shows de Gaulle in particular in a very poor light, concerned more with his political ambitions than the fate of his countrymen.

It is a tough read due to the subject matter but also due to the writing, which I found frankly quite turgid and often confusing, as there are so many characters involved. Despite the list of dramatis personae at the beginning it is quite hard to keep track and the maps, while useful, do not work well on the Kindle. I also began to be annoyed by the number of typographical errors throughout the book.

To sum up, it is a story well worth reading but I might wish that a better author had written it, hence only four stars.
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By T. G. Robertson on 22 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent read on what must be in the UK a little known facet of WW2. My own interest was sparked by a visit to a small "Musee' de la Resistance" in Castellane, SE France earlier this year, with travel from Grenoble through these magnificent mountains. Paddy Ashdown has made a great job of bringing the characters, the hopes, the misunderstandings, and the political machinations to life. This is an easy read with the outline maps providing excellent reference points to where the action is taking place.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Fitzgerald-Torres Sheila F.Torres on 20 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent...well written. It showed accurately the misery of war and the incredible bravery of ordinary people in their fight from tyranny
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By V M Parish on 4 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A well named, excellent and sometimes harrowing, tale of the French resistances' fight against the occupying German forces.
It shows human nature in all its heroism and frailties.

Good factual account of how things were in those days.
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By Jane W on 11 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good account of Battle for Vercors. Brings the participants on both sides to life. Highly recommend.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. A. T. Soden on 11 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
an excellently written and researched history of a beautiful part of France. Very readable and worth every penny
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