Synopses & Reviews
A gripping and insightful history of the French Resistance and the men and women who opposed Nazi occupation during World War II Based on personal stories, eyewitness accounts, and archival material, this vivid history goes behind the tales of derring-do and explains the forces that shaped the fight against the Nazis, providing a deeper explanation of events. The French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II was a struggle in which ordinary people fought for their liberty, despite terrible odds and horrifying repression. Hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen and women carried out an armed struggle against the Nazis, producing underground anti-fascist publications and supplying the Allies with vital intelligence. With major themes of courage, self-sacrifice, betrayal, and struggle, this book shatters the illusion of a unified Resistance created by General de Gaulle, and brings to vivid life a true story of heroes and conflicts forgotten over the next half-century as the movement became a myth. Based on hundreds of French eyewitness accounts and including recently-released archival material, this book uses dramatic personal stories to take the reader on one of the great adventures of the 20th century.
"Plenty has been written about the French Resistance, but no dedicated English volume comes close to this superb, comprehensive account. When the Nazis invaded France in 1940, scores of ordinary people made the extraordinary decision to take action, no matter the risks, in order to oust their occupiers. Cobb (The Egg and Sperm Race) relies on hundreds of interviews, diaries, Resistance newspapers and literature, as well as vast stores of European archival material to present a riveting account of the period. The book covers all levels of the movement, shifting seamlessly from the point of view of the young high school kids clashing with police and soldiers in the streets of Paris; to communist hit squads boldly gunning down German officers; the strategizing of leaders like de Gaulle, PÃ©tain, and Churchill; and the confusion and excitement of the liberation of Paris. Expanding his viewpoint, Cobb explores in detail the Resistance's relationship to the Holocaust and its subsequent impact on French history, as well as the overstated role of de Gaulle. Cobb's work is an important contribution to the English literature on World War II and will appeal to anyone interested in military or French history. 20 b&w photos, 2 maps, and a glossary. Agent: Peter Tallack, Science Factory (U.K.). (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A fine piece of work . . . paying tribute to men and women who did extraordinary things in the face of one of the most hideous tyrannies in history." —Sunday Times
"Fabulous . . . painstakingly researched, even-handed and dripping with poignancy. . . . A good book about the French Resistance has long been overdue. It has now arrived." —Glasgow Herald
"Cobb comes perhaps closer than any other historian to explaining why the Resistance matters." —Spectator
About the Author
Matthew Cobb is a translator.