This book is an exhaustive synthesis of scholarly research, memoirs and diaries. It is difficult to imagine that anyone else will now feel the need to bring together in a single volume the mass of material that has been published over the past half-century on France's wartime experience. What makes Jackson's account particularly useful is that it traces both the prewar roots of wartime developments and the postwar reverberations -- the trials, purges, films and novels. Vichy and the resistance thus emerge clearly as part of the longer run of French history.
New York Times Book Review
People from other Allied countries joke that, according to the French, every one of them participated in the resistance to German occupation during WWII. Jackson, a professor of history at the University of Wales-Swansea, spares no one in exploring not only the events of wartime France, but also developments in historical perspectives on the collaborationist Vichy regime and the Resistance. Moreover, he looks forward to future revelations. Between these endpoints lies a convoluted landscape bearing little resemblance to the usual simplistic pictures. Jackson's excellent study is timely those who remember the occupation will not be around us much longer. It has been a generation since the last general history of occupied France, and during that time, scholars have done much research on which Jackson draws. Beginning his history with the formation of the politics and society of the Third Republic, he exposes France's past in all its contradictions and complexities: the Resistance forces' diverse membership, including women, Jews, farm workers and foreigners; the latent forces in French government and culture that allowed for an easy transition to the Vichy government; Marshal P?tain's increasing popularity while support for Vichy flagged. In liberated Paris, de Gaulle alleged that the French Republic "never ceased to exist" during occupation. "According to this reinterpretation," writes Jackson, "most of the horrors inflicted on France had been the work of the Germans alone." This insightful, thoroughly researched book will be of interest to scholars and general readers, who will come away with a profound understanding of a crucial time in French history. Jackson does readers a service, forat least another generation. 3 maps. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this detailed analysis of an era that still haunts French society, Jackson (history, Univ. of Wales, Swansea; The Popular Front in France) asserts that the Vichy government was not an aberration grafted onto the French body politic by the conquering Germans. The repressive government that was established in that small southern French resort town was the expression of ideological currents that encompassed the anti-Semitic fascist convictions of several French political factions. The author is also quick to point out that the fractious Resistance movement was also a product of indigenous political convictions that reached back to the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Jackson thoroughly dissects the multilayered complexities of a nation at war with itself and shows how, in the final analysis, it was the persevering spirit of the average French citizen that prevailed during those "dark years." Jackson's reputation for meticulous scholarship is quite evident in this latest work, which supplants J.P. Azema's From Munich to Liberation 1938-1944 (Cambridge Univ. o.p.) as the definitive study on the Occupation years and should be in every French history collection. Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Jackson has synthesized a wealth of secondary works in an account that is thorough, thoughtful, lucid, and awesomely commodious."--Eugen Weber, The Atlantic Monthly
"This book is an exhaustive synthesis of scholarly research, memoirs and diaries...What makes Jackson's account particularly useful is that it traces both the prewar roots of wartime developments and the postwar reverberations--the trials, purges, films and novels. Vichy and the resistance thus emerge clearly as part of the longer run of French history...This book bears impressive testimony to the depth of France's postwar conversation with itself about what it endured during the war,"--The New York Times Book Review
"This insightful, thoroughly researched book will be of interest to scholars and general readers, who will come away with a profound understanding of a crucial time in French history"--Publishers Weekly
"In the most complete and careful history to date of occupied France, Jackson unflinchingly explores the complexities and moral ambiguities of his subject."--The Atlantic Monthly