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The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis Paperback – 27 May 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847391567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847391568
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 13 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 296,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Cobb comes perhaps closer than any other historian to explaining why the Resistance matters."" --Spectator"

Review

'Makes the excitement and danger of the period palpable and allows a greater understanding of what it must have been like' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Anybody familiar with the film, 'The Man who shot Liberty Valance,' will remember that famous quip.

It could equally apply to the French Resistance. Charting their history from France's humiliating defeat at the hands of the German in 1940 ( a six week campaign that stunned the world) we learn of the total paralysis that struck France, a nation unable to comprehend the disaster that befell it.

As antipathy is replaced by defiance, we learn of the Resistance in its infancy, and how it struggled to get off the ground. In fact, many people considered it a nuisance, pinprick attacks that had no real military impact, but brought crushing retribution from the German occupiers in return.

As the tides of war shifted against Germany, and forced labour acts were met by defiance from the French, the resistance bloomed.

By liberation day in 1944, every man and his dog was claiming resistance membership, much to the annoyance of those who had fought alone, and had been dismissed as fools, for years.

It is at this moment that Cobb earns his salt - separating fact from fiction, myths from reality.

As a primer to a crucial chapter of French history, this book is first class.
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