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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent work, very readable and extremely informative
Cobb conveys vividly and with insight the tensions, internal conflicts, political problems, and (often lethal) dangers associated with resistance activities in wartime France. Even those who have previously studied this important period in modern French history will benefit from reading this book - and for those with little knowledge of the subject it will provide a...
Published on 31 Aug 2009 by John McCutcheon

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Of interest to historians of this era
I was expecting a somewhat action-filled story of clandestine operations. However this book is rather more political history... in fact after 6 months of picking up/putting down I still haven't finished it. And probably won't. This might be a shame as it may well get more action packed towards DDay. I guess it's not the author's fault that in actual fact the resistance...
Published 12 months ago by Sherlock


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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent work, very readable and extremely informative, 31 Aug 2009
By 
Cobb conveys vividly and with insight the tensions, internal conflicts, political problems, and (often lethal) dangers associated with resistance activities in wartime France. Even those who have previously studied this important period in modern French history will benefit from reading this book - and for those with little knowledge of the subject it will provide a comprehensive and easily understood overview of complex events, set within a wider political and military framework.
The author's enthusiasm for his subject is reflected in the style of writing, which makes for easy reading.
The book deserves to be widely read. It contains an extensive bibliography, which will be valuable to both serious scholars and general readers.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving a wide audience, 18 Jun 2009
By 
Philip Katz "Phil - Caxton" (Cambourne, Cambs) - See all my reviews
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With all of the justified interest attached to Word War Two it is surprising how few books are devoted to this important topic. At least in English. So the few that are available have to be good and they have to be comprehensive. I have given five stars to Cobb's book for three reasons.
First it is wide ranging but also manages to be detailed and well balanced. Second it is a really good read and draws its strength from ample inclusion of memoirs and reflections of participants. Finally, as with all good books, it is a labour of love.
This is an excellent introduction for those new to the subject. But there is much that will interest readers who have a fuller knowledge of the subject matter. For example it throws new light on the relationship of the Resistance to the Allies on and around D-Day.
I would congratulate the writer on his ability to describe the many faces of the resistance and its internal dynamics - no easy task as so much of it remains covered in secrecy, even today. All serious accounts of the war on the Eastern front now require consideration of the activities of partisans. Cobb has ensured that the same honour must now be afforded to the Resistance in any account of the war in the West.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational, thrilling and moving, 22 Aug 2010
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Daniel Silver (Kingston, Canada) - See all my reviews
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As with the other reviews here, I agree that this is a well written, easy to understand overview of the French Resistance.

I've studied the basics of WWII in school and read a few books on the war, but this is the first time that I've ever read anything about the Resistance itself. I had no idea just how diverse the movement was - that in fact, it was not a homogenous movement at all.

Prof. Cobb describes the courage of individuals; the attempts to organise; the politics and differences not just amongst the groups in occupied and Vichy France, but with De Gaulle and the Allies as well. There are here true tales of bravery, of heroism, of treason and deceit,of cynical manipulation, and of barbarity and savagery. This book reads like a suspense thriller - once you start, it's hard to put down.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in WWII history, or the study of resistance movements.

As an accompanying entertainment, I recommend the 1969 classic Jean-Pierre Melville film Army of Shadows (L'armée des ombres). This is not a true story, but does encorporate and is enspired by some actual events. Melville himself was apparently in the resistance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent piece of work, covering a huge amount of ground in a lively, engaging and informative voice, 9 Jun 2012
By 
Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis (Paperback)
In Resistance, Matthew Cobb provides a broad social and political history of the French resistance movement in France during the Second World War, drawing on extensive archival and interview research. What his analysis demonstrates is that the Resistance was, in fact, many resistances, made up of hundreds of groups and cells working in broad alliances, cross-cut with deep political schisms, clashes of personalities, differences in opinion, tactics and strategies, and answering to different masters. A real strength of the book is that Cobb manages to, on the one hand, contextualise resistance within wider European and global politics and the war, and within what was happening in France with respect to the Vichy regime and the apparatus of Nazi oppression, and on the other, to provide in-depth discussion of particular individuals and groups, and their motivations, aspirations, actions and fate. As such, he provides by both breadth and depth, dispassionate contextualisation and poignant intimacy. It's a powerful combination that leads to a huge amount of information being crammed into a relatively short book without it ever feeling rushed or truncated. In addition, rather than simply describing events as with many historical texts, Cobb provides an explanatory framework, seeking to interpret why certain decisions were undertaken, and he does so from a relatively neutral position, detailing how others have interpreted the same events and why his view concurs or differs. In my view, it's an excellent piece of work, covering a huge amount of ground in a lively, engaging and informative voice. If you want a rounded, synoptic introduction to the various Resistance movements in France, this is a great place to start.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memory against forgetting, 18 May 2010
By 
Aidan J. McQuade (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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In June 1944 in the French industrial town of Tulle the Germans declared they were going to execute 120 people in a reprisal for a defeat by the resistance. They began hanging them from the balconies and lamp posts of their own town. Having murdered 99 innocent men aged between 17 and 42 they stopped, possibly because they simply ran out of rope.

This sort of chilling anecdote regularly illuminates this fine narrative history of the French Resistance. The book strives to outline the breadth and depth of the French resistance, in the process remembering key figures such as Moulin in their full human complexity and capturing the excitment, horror, heroism and tragedy of this aspect of the struggle against the Nazis.

A central theme of the books is how the heroism of the Resistants was taken advantage of by De Gaulle, who derived the political benefits of the struggle while barely acknowleging the sacrifice of the resistants. Nevertheless, while always clear in his sympathies to the Resistants of both left and right, the author does not shirk from addressing some of the atrocities and excesses of those same people.

The climax of the book is, perhaps inevitably, the liberation of Paris, in many ways an aberation in the Second World War. Elsewhere, including parts of France, there was an almost total failure of the Allies to support the national insurrections against the Nazis, with terrible consequences from Prague to Warsaw.

Overall an excellent introduction to this period of history in all its bloodshed and confusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good overall account of the Resistance in Occupied France in WW2, 6 July 2013
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Well researched and packed with facts, but perhaps not so well organised. The book jumped from an overall view of the Resistance to personal anecdotes and back again which left the reader somewhat confused.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 23 Feb 2013
By 
Kernowlot (Plymouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this informative and very readable account of a difficult period in the history of France. A regular visitor to one of the areas where resistance was strong, it now seems even more real to me.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Of interest to historians of this era, 2 July 2013
By 
Sherlock (Sandwich, Kent) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis (Paperback)
I was expecting a somewhat action-filled story of clandestine operations. However this book is rather more political history... in fact after 6 months of picking up/putting down I still haven't finished it. And probably won't. This might be a shame as it may well get more action packed towards DDay. I guess it's not the author's fault that in actual fact the resistance was small in terms of numbers/actions, at least until it seemed the war was going to be won by the allies, somewhat 'naive' (e.g. minutes of meetings, with names, seemed to be frequently kept and then fall into the wrong hands) and riddled with politics. It was intersting to get a view on the relationship between De Gaulle and the resistance(s) and to get a feeling of the fear involved with a population under occupation, well at least the non-Vichy part. So, 3 stars from me...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than the stereotypical beret and sten gun image, 13 Jan 2011
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This review is from: The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis (Paperback)
The introduction makes it clear. This is a work that has been waiting for the author to commit it to paper. It is born of schoolboy idealism in a world where things were simpler.

But this is not an idealised vision. Cobb acknowledges his motivation but produces a balanced view of the different Resistance factions and their rivalries - united in their desire to free France of the occupiers but fighting for their version of the future once the Nazis have gone.

Through the course of the book we are introduced to the history of the Resistance from the first stirrings after 1940, to co-operation with London and SOE to the Liberation of Paris and through to the final days of the war in France. I found the `What Happened to Them' section giving a brief summary on the fate of many mentioned in the book not only useful but most welcome.

Throughout the book uses and references an impressive amount of sources with the acknowledgements, notes on translation, further reading, bibliography and notes sections amount to almost 90 pages in the hardback edition.

But this is no dry academic text.

Mathew Cobb has blended his love of the subject, his research and his use of language to produce an accessible and very readable book for anyone who has sat in a cafe and glanced at the small plaques naming the individuals who died in the Liberation or who has simply wondered what they would have done if their country was occupied (yet again) by a historic foe for four years.

Although a lot of the 'headline' information has been published before, there are many 'Wow - I didn't know that!' details.

A great book for an overview that digs beyond the stereotypes and serves as a jumping off place for further exploration.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very gripping read, 26 May 2014
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The book gives a good overall view of the French resistance movement in world war two and includes gripping individual stories.
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The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis
The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis by Matthew Cobb (Paperback - 27 May 2010)
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