The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944 / Edition 1

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Overview

From the Liberation purges to the Barbie trial, France has struggled with the memory of the Vichy experience: a memory of defeat, occupation, and repression. In this provocative study, Henry Rousso examines how this proud nation--a nation where reality and myth commingle to confound understanding--has dealt with les années noires. Specifically, he studies what the French have chosen to remember and what have chosen to conceal.
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Editorial Reviews

The Economist
Rousso has set out to provide not just another narrative of les années noires--the years of defeat, occupation, of the phantom 'French State' and the civil war--but a study of the way the Vichy episode has been perceived and perverted by the French ever since. The result is a brilliant and intemperate book that is also a tract for the times.
New York Review of Books

Succeeds as a practical demonstration, for a particularly vivid case, of how to study a people grappling with a past. It is remarkable how few similar works there are...One understands a historian's hesitation before the poorly documented and ill-defined wider popular memory as a subject. Rousso shows us, however, how dramatic and revealing this genre can be.
— Robert O. Paxton

Jewish Quarterly

This is an original and thought-provoking work, a 'must' for anyone interested in the political and cultural psychology of post-war France.
— Nelly Wilson

New York Review of Books - Robert O. Paxton
Succeeds as a practical demonstration, for a particularly vivid case, of how to study a people grappling with a past. It is remarkable how few similar works there are...One understands a historian's hesitation before the poorly documented and ill-defined wider popular memory as a subject. Rousso shows us, however, how dramatic and revealing this genre can be.
Jewish Quarterly - Nelly Wilson
This is an original and thought-provoking work, a 'must' for anyone interested in the political and cultural psychology of post-war France.
Library Journal
The traumas of collaboration, resistance, and near civil war during World War II have not yet disappeared in France. This new book by a young French scholar is an interesting and valuable review of the changing ways the French have interpreted the Vichy era. Unlike the many and often conflicting accounts of Vichy, this volume is a history of the memories of that troubled era. The author contends that the changes reveal cycles of purposeful memories with specific political goals by those who tried to shape interpretation and memory of the past. Rousso finds in these memories a neurosis or the ``Vichy syndrome.'' The result is an era poorly understood even now by the French but one whose memories evoke emotional and passionate responses as revealed by the public reaction to Max Ophuls's The Sorrow and the Pity or the trial of Klaus Barbie. Strongly recommended for general readers and for scholars in contemporary Europe .--Frank L. Wilson, Purdue Univ., W. Lafayette, Ind.
Booknews
This translation is based on the second, revised edition of Le Syndrome de Vichy: De 1944 a nos jours (1987 & 1990, Editions du Deuil, Paris). Memories of the Occupation are both enduring, controversial, and conflicting; Rousso explores the sources and continuing impact of the rival memories and myths--how and why they have obscured the truth and continue to do so. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674935396
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Rousso is researcher at the Institut d'Histoire du Temps Présent (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Paris.

Arthur Goldhammer received the French-American Translation Prize in 1990 for his translation of A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Stanley Hoffmann

Abbreviations

Introduction: The Neurosis

Part 1: EVOLUTION OF THE SYNDROME

1. Unfinished Mourning (1944-1954)

2. Repressions (1954-1971)

3. The Broken Mirror (1971-1974)

4. Obsession (after 1974): Jewish Memory

5. Obsession (after 1974): The World of Politics

Part 2: TRANSMISSION OF THE SYNDROME

6. Vectors of Memory

7. Diffuse Memory

Conclusion

Appendix 1: Chronology of Events

Appendix 2: French Films and World War II

Bibliography

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

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