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23 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not for light reading
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...
Published 7 months ago by Richie

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative, but needs a lot of editing
Has moments of high drama, but also longueurs where it reads rather like a regimental history
Published 5 months ago by Richard Bass


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not for light reading, 22 Jun. 2014
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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Missing Story in the Liberation of France., 31 July 2014
This review is from: The Cruel Victory (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. It does so splendidly. Lord Ashdown, like George W Bush before him, can stand under a banner reading 'Mission Accomplished' - except that in Ashdown's case this mission really has been accomplished.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, neglected and often terrible story of the Maquis in the Vercors plateau, 18 Jun. 2014
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Read, 22 Oct. 2014
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T. G. Robertson (Staffs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cruel Victory (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Futility of war, 20 Jun. 2014
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, researched etc, 14 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Cruel Victory (Hardcover)
Beautifully written, researched etc. One needs peace and quiet to concentrate on the myriad of facts and many real characters and events that saw the Free French Resistance Fighters of in the Auvergne taking on the might of the Wermacht in WW2. An excellent read!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent and sometimes harrowing, 4 July 2014
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This review is from: The Cruel Victory (Hardcover)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific story well told, 11 Oct. 2014
By 
J. Whitehead (Basingstoke, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cruel Victory (Hardcover)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 11 July 2014
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C. A. T. Soden (suffolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cruel Victory (Hardcover)
an excellently written and researched history of a beautiful part of France. Very readable and worth every penny
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Cruel Victory (Hardcover)
Superb book and obviously very deeply researched by the renowned Paddy Ashdown.
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The Cruel Victory
The Cruel Victory by Paddy Ashdown (Hardcover - 5 Jun. 2014)
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