Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupationby Robert Gildea
In France, the German occupation is called simply the "dark years." There were only the "good French" who resisted and the "bad French" who collaborated. Marianne in Chains, a broad and provocative history drawing on previously unseen archives, firsthand interviews, diaries, and eyewitness accounts, uncovers the complex truth of the time. Robert Gildea's
In France, the German occupation is called simply the "dark years." There were only the "good French" who resisted and the "bad French" who collaborated. Marianne in Chains, a broad and provocative history drawing on previously unseen archives, firsthand interviews, diaries, and eyewitness accounts, uncovers the complex truth of the time. Robert Gildea's groundbreaking study reveals the everyday life in the heart of occupied France; the pressing imperatives of work, food, transportation, and family obligations that led to unavoidable compromise and negotiation with the army of occupation.
What emerges from this fascinating mass of detail is the complexity and diversity of the French experience. A country addicted to centralization found itself cut in two by the "demarcation line," and Vichy's authority was never decisive in the occupied half. As a result, local "notables" (especially mayors, but also landowners, businesspeople, and religious leaders) acted as crucial intermediaries between officials, German or Vichyite, and the population. Gildea thoroughly treats the main issues: the problem of food, terrorism, the fate of the Jews, forced-labor conscription, conflicts between resisters and ordinary citizens afraid of reprisals, the turbulence of the liberation, the era of disappointment that followed it, and the bewildering clashes of memories that persist. His most interesting observation, however, is of how the occupation led not only to violence and hatredbetween the French and the Germans, but also to a complex mutual experiment in learning to live together perhaps a crucial factor in postwar reconciliation and, eventually, European integration.
“Gildea has done a great service...A considerable achievement.” The New York Times
“[A] carefully researched and richly nuanced study.” The Boston Globe
“Subtle and humane.” The New Yorker
“A searching inquiry...Provocative--and timely.” Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Stunning...In his nuanced and intricate work of historical reconstruction Gildea has grappled heroically with the ambiguity at the heart of history and in the heart of man.” The Atlantic Monthly
- Pan Macmillan
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.12(w) x 7.76(h) x 1.34(d)
Meet the Author
Robert Gildea is a professor of modern French history at the University of Oxford. His previous books include France Since 1945 and The Past in French History. He lives in Oxford, England.
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