Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent wide-ranging history of France's 'Dark Years'
The Unfree French covers the most important aspects of life under the German occupation - collaboration and resistance, keeping body and soul together under severe restrictions, and so on. It also describes subjects less often touched on in books on the topic: emotional relationships between French men and women, French and Germans, the changing position of women in...
Published on 20 Oct 2007 by Dobester

versus
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather dry yet informative
This book gives a good overview of circumstances effecting different sections of French society through the years of the occupation. Through largely statistical evidence it provides a history which tends to read very dryly and does not give the reader an emotional overview or development of general life through the occupation. Of course this is a very complex issue and...
Published on 31 Aug 2008 by Normandy Battlefield Guide


Most Helpful First | Newest First

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent wide-ranging history of France's 'Dark Years', 20 Oct 2007
By 
Dobester (Istanbul, Turkey) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
The Unfree French covers the most important aspects of life under the German occupation - collaboration and resistance, keeping body and soul together under severe restrictions, and so on. It also describes subjects less often touched on in books on the topic: emotional relationships between French men and women, French and Germans, the changing position of women in society, the sufferings (or not) of the two million-odd French prisoners of war in Germany, town-country relations.

Overall, a very good history of the times, full of new archival material that always illustrates the dilemmas of life under occupation. Like Robert Gildea's 'Marianne in Chains", Mr Vinen's book draws very much on regional archives and masters and doctoral theses from regional universities. While this provides fascinating content, it tends to reduce events in Paris to a mere sideshow in some ways. This was slightly disappointing, which explains the four stars; otherwise, the book is easily a five-star success.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Miserable for most, plushy for some, 11 Nov 2009
By 
Una L. Flett (Southern Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
The excellence of this book on occupied France lies in the author's skill in creating order out of the chaos of factors that confronted the French against each other. Degrees of collaboration, degrees of resistance, living in a city, living in an agricultural region,living in the Free Zone, living in the occupied zone, age, sex, (and sex), and of course Jewishness and attitudes towards it. In spite of being minutely documented and written in a rather impersonal tone, this remains a very readable account of a society split in so many ways against itself. The impersonal tone lets the facts, some of them horrific, speak for themselves.
I did expect to find more mention of the Resistance, which remains largely off-stage. But no doubt there is already an enormous literature on that subject - and perhaps they counted as "free French"?.

Essential reading for anyone interested in war-time Europe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather dry yet informative, 31 Aug 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
This book gives a good overview of circumstances effecting different sections of French society through the years of the occupation. Through largely statistical evidence it provides a history which tends to read very dryly and does not give the reader an emotional overview or development of general life through the occupation. Of course this is a very complex issue and each individual would have had their own experience; making it impossible to stereotype a typical experience, however this particular publication does prove to be a little too 'academic' to be classed as enjoyable. In terms of giving statistical evidence to support his work, Vinen does very well, but unfortunately these statistics make the book rather less readable than the work of Ian Ousby which I would recommend over this particular publication.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More like a series of articles, 25 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
This book feels more like a series of unrelated articles than a single structured book.As a result some of the chapters,particularly the earlier ones about the fall of France and rise of Vichy are fairly interesting.However as the book progresses its seems to dwell far too long on the experiences of those French soldiers and citizens who were outside France and in particular in Germany.One third of the book is devoted to this and it becomes rather uninteresting reading.The authors style is fairly academic and he relies on a lot of statistics which becomes rather tiresome.In the end i skipped through a number of pages to reach the end as quickly as i could.I have read a number of books on the subject and this is not amongst the top rank.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and readable, 3 May 2010
By 
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
Vinen is an insightful historian, full of ideas, rather than a plodding journeyman of an historian. He also has a very readable writing style and an excellent choice of anecdote. The sub-title of this book is slightly misleading because actually he is less interested in those people who stayed in France and experienced 'Life under occupation' and more interested in previously neglected groups such as Forced Labour workers or POWs who left the country. This gives an original angle to his study. Personally, I think this is a readable and intelligent book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book about the France's occupation, 5 Jan 2010
By 
Eduardo Santamaria (Valencia, Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
In my opinion this book is a good introduction about the German ocupation in France. It explain briefly several aspects of this ocupation, colaboration, resistance and the living during these dark years. I have a lot of books about the Second World War and this one was the first that I bought about the Ocupation, it is not the best but If you want a general review of this issue I will recomend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To understand the French......, 1 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
There three books to read to understand the French - Graham Robb's book about "France", this book about life during the German Occupation of WW2, and Carmen Callil's book called Bad Faith, about anti-Semitic activity in France during the same period.
This little book is full of anecdotes that explain why France is so difficult to explain, and why the following 50 years has been so painful for families and communities.
There are still areas of France where Germans are not welcome, and new monuments go up every year to commemorate the victims of "Nazi brutality" - this book explains why.
Richard Vinen has done painstaking research and trawled through vast amounts of national and local history.
An excellent, but disturbing read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 18 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
really interest content
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars non-specialists please avoid!, 11 Nov 2012
By 
Zangiku (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation (Paperback)
was this all a big mistake??? did someone accidently publish the wrong MS: end-notes for a paper to be read at a luncheon meeting for specialists in Vichy history? numbers, names, statistics, lists, no overview, no historical placement, no explanation, just gobbledegook. impenetrable. a rip-off.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation
The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation by Richard Vinen (Paperback - 26 April 2007)
7.69
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews