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Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France during the German Occupationby Robert Gildea
Synopses & Reviews
A startling and original view of the occupation of the French heartland, based on a new investigation of everyday life under Nazi rule
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, uncovers a rather different story, one in which the truth is more complex and humane.
Drawing on previously unseen archives, firsthand interviews, diaries, and eyewitness accounts, Robert Gildea reveals everyday life in the heart of occupied France. He describes the pressing imperatives of work, food, transportation, and family obligations that led to unavoidable compromise and negotiation with the army of occupation. In the process, he sheds light on such subjects as forced labor, the role of the Catholic Church, the “horizontal collaboration” between French women and German soldiers, and, most surprisingly, the ambivalent attitude of ordinary people toward the Resistance.
A great work of reconstruction, Marianne in Chains provides a clear view, unobscured by romance or polemics, of the painful ambiguities of living under tyranny.
"In this stunning work Gildea, a professor of modern European history at Oxford, attempts to move 'beyond praise and blame' to explore the ever shifting lines between accommodation and defiance, cynicism and loyalty, and prudence and altruism that the French negotiated through their ordeal. He succeeds brilliantly." Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)
"The strength of this book lies in the author's appreciation of the complexity of people's behavior under pressure. Delving behind the postwar stereotypes, Gildea (France Since 1945) reveals the myriad paths ordinary French citizens took to survive the occupation." Publishers Weekly
?Remarkable . . . the most humane and nuanced account of wartime France to date. If there is one book on the subject which people should read then this is surely it.? Michael Burleigh, author of The Third Reich
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.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 473-489) and index.
About the Author
Robert Gildea is a professor of modern European history at the University of Oxford. His previous books include France Since 1945 and The Past in French History. He lives in Oxford.
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