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An excellent, detailed survey of an important subject
on 17 August 2001
This is a substantial survey of the years of the Nazi occupation of France. Although there are some excellent English and American books on this subject or on aspects of it, I have not yet come across anything in English which is as comprehensive.
The autor starts with a section called " Anticipations " which sets the scene by examining some aspects of France between the two world wars. This section ends with an account of the rapid defeat of France in the Spring and Summer of 1940.
The other sections of the book deal with collaboration, the Vichy government, everyday life, the Resistance,and, perhaps the most interesting section, the Liberation and after.
The book is massively well-informed. The author makes references to a huge number of sources: these range from standard history texts through unpublished Ph.D theses to French newspapers published at the time, both those produced by the underground presses and those which openly supported the Vichy régime and the Nazi occupiers.
The book provides some valuable correctives to some of the myths and legend which persist about the Resistance and the Vichy state. He rejects completely the idea that Jean Moulin was a communist sleeper, for example. Julian Jackson finishes his study with an epilogue called " Remembering the Occupation " which shows that the events of 1940 - 1944 are still a subject of serious and sometimes acrimonious discussion.
In just over six hundred pages this book covers a big subject in fascinating detail. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in tis period. It deserves to become a classic in its field.