The Dark Years, 1940-1944

Book - 2001
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The French call them 'the Dark Years'...This definitive new history of Occupied France explores the myths and realities of four of the most divisive years in French history.Taking in ordinary people's experiences of defeat, collaboration, resistance, and liberation, it uncovers the conflicting memories of occupation which ensure that even today France continues to debate the legacy of the Vichy years.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001
ISBN: 9780199254576
Characteristics: xix, 660 p. : maps ; 24 cm


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Norman C. Smith
Jul 28, 2014

This is a thorough and nuanced account of France during the years of the Occupation, with an emphasis on the social aspects of the time. Jackson describes the wide range of attitudes held by the French, drawing out the basis for these. It is a complex history, with a wide variety of motives and beliefs resulting in a very large number of movements and organizations.

Jackson does a good job of keeping these straight (a table of abbreviations at the start of the book is a big help).

The initial section, laying out the years up to the invasion, also helps to clarify why there were so many different factions during the war.

The book also addresses the "historical memory" of the Occupation, in a review of how it has appeared in historians' views, popular culture, and political movements after the war. Overall, an excellent history.


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