The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation

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9780300126013: The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation

The swift and unexpected defeat of the French Army in 1940 shocked the nation. Two million soldiers were taken prisoner, six million civilians fled from the German army’s advance to join convoys of confused and terrified refugees, and only a few managed to escape the country. The vast majority of French people were condemned to years of subjugation under Nazi and Vichy rule. This compelling book investigates the impact of the occupation on the people of France and dispels any lingering notion that somehow, under the collaborating government of Marshal Pétain, life was quite tolerable for most French citizens.

Richard Vinen describes the inescapable fear and the moral quandaries that permeated life in German-controlled France. Focusing on the experiences of the least privileged, he shows how chronic shortages, desperate compromises, fear of displacement, racism, and sadistic violence defined their lives. Virtually all adult males festered in POW camps or were sent to work in the Reich. With numerous enthralling anecdotes and a variety of maps and evocative photographs, The Unfree French makes it possible for the first time to understand how average people in France really lived from 1940 to 1945, why their experiences differed from region to region and among various groups, and why they made the choices they did during the occupation.

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About the Author:

Richard Vinen is on the faculty of the Department of History, Kings College, University of London.

From Booklist:

During the years 1940-44, the French were forced by circumstances to adjust personally to the German occupation, and circumstances worsened (lethally for French Jews) as the war lengthened. Therefore, the historical distinction between collaboration and resistance is questionable when it comes to understanding French society in these years, and Vinen stresses the tough circumstances in both material and psychic terms. In the humiliation of the 1940 defeat, Vinen discerns the emasculation felt by two million captured French soldiers taken back to forced labor in Germany. These imprisoned men were a major influence on how those back in France coped, as their absence compelled a substantial number of women to shift for themselves. Exploring French society operating under the restrictions of occupation, Vinen refrains from overgeneralization and draws sympathy, especially for those women with liaisons to Germans, who were denounced after liberation as collaborators. Privation and loneliness are the dominating moods of Vinen's social history, which offers an alternate perspective to the political and military histories that dominate the subject of occupied France. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Descripción Yale University Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The swift and unexpected defeat of the French Army in 1940 shocked the nation. Two million soldiers were taken prisoner, six million civilians fled from the German army s advance to join convoys of confused and terrified refugees, and only a few managed to escape the country. The vast majority of French people were condemned to years of subjugation under Nazi and Vichy rule. This compelling book investigates the impact of the occupation on the people of France and dispels any lingering notion that somehow, under the collaborating government of Marshal Petain, life was quite tolerable for most French citizens. Richard Vinen describes the inescapable fear and the moral quandaries that permeated life in German-controlled France. Focusing on the experiences of the least privileged, he shows how chronic shortages, desperate compromises, fear of displacement, racism, and sadistic violence defined their lives. Virtually all adult males festered in POW camps or were sent to work in the Reich. With numerous enthralling anecdotes and a variety of maps and evocative photographs, The Unfree French makes it possible for the first time to understand how average people in France really lived from 1940 to 1945, why their experiences differed from region to region and among various groups, and why they made the choices they did during the occupation. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780300126013

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Descripción Yale University Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The swift and unexpected defeat of the French Army in 1940 shocked the nation. Two million soldiers were taken prisoner, six million civilians fled from the German army s advance to join convoys of confused and terrified refugees, and only a few managed to escape the country. The vast majority of French people were condemned to years of subjugation under Nazi and Vichy rule. This compelling book investigates the impact of the occupation on the people of France and dispels any lingering notion that somehow, under the collaborating government of Marshal Petain, life was quite tolerable for most French citizens. Richard Vinen describes the inescapable fear and the moral quandaries that permeated life in German-controlled France. Focusing on the experiences of the least privileged, he shows how chronic shortages, desperate compromises, fear of displacement, racism, and sadistic violence defined their lives. Virtually all adult males festered in POW camps or were sent to work in the Reich. With numerous enthralling anecdotes and a variety of maps and evocative photographs, The Unfree French makes it possible for the first time to understand how average people in France really lived from 1940 to 1945, why their experiences differed from region to region and among various groups, and why they made the choices they did during the occupation. Nº de ref. de la librería BZV9780300126013

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