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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 17 April 2016
Puts a whole new reality on what was myth and what actually happened. The public face has always been of the Resisdence appearing just before cities were liberated whereas in fact much useful work was done at great personal loss and tragedy by the common folk of France. Well worth reading. Max Hastings has clearly done a deal of extensive research
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2009
Extremely detailed and well researched, the book provides a fascinating insight into the events of the period, overturning many 'cherished' beliefs. Balanced, with input from both sides of the conflict, it provides a thorough understanding of all of the issues involved, including the 'bigger' picture often overlooked. Particularly interesting for me as someone living in this area, surrounded still by evidence and residual feelings of the campaign.
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on 14 June 2014
I have read Hastings' books previously and this was a well written history of Vichy France and the SS Das Reich. It was a bit light on the Das Reich side but that was probably because its former members were reluctant to tell all because of their involvement in the atrocities committed during their time in France. Nothing much was given about them in Russia other than a brief "kill or be killed" reference. There was more information on the French Resistance and although this was very interesting it was an aside to the main subject. Over all it was a good read and will interest Hastings' followers.
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on 23 January 2011
I agree with the reviewer who felt misled in that the book was more about the Resistance than the Das Reich Division itself, but that suited me as I live on the path of devastation in France and some of our local schools are named after Resistance heroes mentioned in the book.
I now have my doubts about the 'meticulous research', however. To take an unrandom example: Cardaillac. I can walk there from my house and it has around 550 inhabitants. According to Sir Max, one woman was wounded and another shot dead by the Das Reich troops on 11th May 1944. In fact, three young men were executed.
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on 28 September 2014
I am shattered at the number of people this SS Division murdered without rhyme or reason. It opened my eyes to the work of the French resistance movement when it came to helping stop reinforcements reaching the front during the early days of D-Day landings. Ant not let us forget the enormous assistance S O E and the O S S contributed to the Allied success.
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on 27 October 2013
This is the story of a Panzer regiment's movement from the south of France to Normandy, and of the French Resistance. It tells of the strategically delays caused by the actions of the Resistance and the horrific consequences to the civilian population. Having the kindle edition, the maps are difficult to read and it is useful to have a decent scale map of the areas concerned to hand.
There is fascinating insight into the workings of the SOE and of the actions of the SOE agents in France.
The facts are extremely well researched and the text well written and easy to follow.
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on 13 July 2015
This is a must-read for anyone interested in the wartime history of SW France, the NAZI massacres at Oradour and Tulle and the exploits of SOE and the French Resistance. Well written and well indexed.
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on 3 November 2014
The overall book could have been very interesting, however it turned into more a description of the Maquis and assocated political infighting than a description of the the overall progression of Das Reich to the Normany coast and the Allied invasion.
It could have been improved considerably (I think) if the author had dedicated more time to the activities and formation of the Gruppe in question.
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on 12 November 2015
Usual good book by Max Hastings. He goes deeply into the characters involved and shows the many facets of the interested parties which affected the travel of the division on its route to Normandy. One expects nothing more from Mr Hastings.
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on 10 May 2014
The narrative of the Das Reich SS Panzer Division's journey from the south to the Normandy battlefields at once evokes admiration and revulsion. The bulk of the account focuses on the activities of various branches of the Resistance and Allied covert operations describing how they harrassed and delayed the movement of Das Reich. Hastings writes in a relatively non judgemental way, not allowing sentiment to get in the way of historical fact. The account of the ransacking of Oradour Sur Glane allows the reader to make their own judgements.
Overall, this account of one episode in World War II leaves you wanting to know more about the German Panzer Division, I felt. The exploits of the Resistance are amply covered. I read Hastings' 'All Hell Let Loose' before I read Das Reich, finding that a much more gripping and pacey.
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