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Old 12-10-2015, 09:50 AM
 
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Author Robert Gildea's new book "Fighters in the Shadows" argues that contrary to the Gaulist mythology the French Resistance was less a popular force French mass resistance but rather a collection of diverse groups from fleeing Jews and German communist to exiled veterans of the Spanish Civil War along with a minority of French activist and intellectuals. I haven't yet had a chance to read the book, but found this review an interesting summary of Gildea's research.
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
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More reviews of the books, from Amazon:

Quote:
This book is a must-read. It paints on a broad canvas the story of the men and the women, French and foreign, who fought and fell in the ranks of the French Resistance, following the interior resistance and the Free French, political movements, Allied intelligence networks and the maquis. Gildea confronts the dissensions that divided the Resistance and evokes the many and complex emotions experienced by its fighters. He has accomplished a tour de force. (Guillaume Piketty, Professor of History, Sciences Po, Paris)

[An] ambitious overview of the Vichy years…There have been many excellent recent books, both in French and in English…on France during the resistance years. What Gildea has done is to step back and look at the wider picture, thereby providing a context for the individual acts of courage, which he celebrates in moving detail. He gives recognition to the widest range of participants, many of them little known, and to the categories who did not fit well into the postwar myth of heroism, and that is perhaps his most important contribution to the field. (Caroline Moorhead The Guardian 2015-08-19)

Scrupulous, evenhanded reconsideration of the fighters of the French Resistance and how the patriotic myth became central to the identity of postwar France. Employing a refreshing approach to the history of this traumatic epoch by sticking with firsthand testimony, both written and oral, Gildea restores some of the marginalized voices so crucial to the story: women, communists, and foreigners…Gildea proceeds step by step in the buildup to resistance, which required both an internal and external network, especially from de Gaulle’s Allied base in London. Moreover, the liberation by the Americans of North Africa in November 1942 proved to be the ‘hinge’ in galvanizing resistance and clarifying the Vichy versus Free French struggle. A masterly, painstakingly researched study incorporating the urgent stories of the resisters themselves. (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 2015-09-15)

An important new book…[Gildea] blends top-down history with the bottom-up stories of those who schemed, improvised, grabbed chances and risked their lives. (The Economist 2015-08-29)
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Pérouges
581 posts, read 716,626 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWiseWino View Post
Author Robert Gildea's new book "Fighters in the Shadows" argues that contrary to the Gaulist mythology the French Resistance was less a popular force French mass resistance but rather a collection of diverse groups from fleeing Jews and German communist to exiled veterans of the Spanish Civil War along with a minority of French activist and intellectuals. I haven't yet had a chance to read the book, but found this review an interesting summary of Gildea's research.
It is interesting that you phrase it thus: "argues that contrary to the Gaulist mythology".

The, as you so phrase it, Gaulist mythology has not been the recognised view of the French Resistance in France for quite a while. It certainly isn't what is taught in French schools (I have a daughter who has just finished school and is in her 2nd year of Lycée (college) and has studied and is studying History). While Mr Robert Gildeas' book may prove to be a revelation to some, it is pretty much accepted as a historical fact here in France.

It may indeed prove to be worthy of reading this is true, or I could just read one of the number that are already easily purchased.

Thank you for the tip anyway...

Last edited by Mr Blue Sky; 12-11-2015 at 01:38 PM.. Reason: ... I got my daughters year wrong. :/
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mr Blue Sky View Post
The, as you so phrase it, Gaulist mythology has not been the recognised view of the French Resistance in France for quite a while.
While the Gualist view may not be the contemporary history accepted in France or taught in French schools, I dare say that it is still a widely accepted perception outside of the continent, particularly in the United States. It has only been within the last 10 or so years that Jewish, Polish, or Russian resistance fighters have been portrayed in popular culture as being anything than stalwart French men and women stood united against the Nazi and Vichy government. So, this being for the most part an American discussion site, I think that a book written in English that brings a new perspective to an American audience generally enthralled with everything to do with WWII is worthy of more than parochial condescension.

Of course French condescension could be just another a myth as well.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Pérouges
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Originally Posted by TheWiseWino View Post
So, this being for the most part an American discussion site, I think that a book written in English that brings a new perspective to an American audience generally enthralled with everything to do with WWII is worthy of more than parochial condescension.

Of course French condescension could be just another a myth as well.
This is a very good point and what people believe (historically) as opposed to what they have learned through multiple and indeed possibly "foreign" sources is probably worthy of a thread in itself.

Not the condescending Frenchman part though, I mean......

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Old 12-11-2015, 01:56 PM
 
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Ask Russian WWII historians. They find "French resistance" an entertaining joke. They say that the only real worth mentioning as successful guerrilla warfare in occupied Europe were Chetniks. Ruthlessly dealt with by Joseph BT after war.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:58 PM
 
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PS - Mr Blue Sky.

On second thought, perhaps the "we French know all about this" is quite true taking into consideration the considerable discussions that took place in France over the years reevaluating the actual contribution and subsequent costs paid by the French people (in the terms of Nazi reprisals). And just as most the actual role that the Parti Communiste Français, (PCF) played in the resistance.

Of course here in the U.S. that discussion didn't take place so for the most part we are left with Hollywood depictions of these vast networks of valiant French men and women, of whom there were many, but not as many as portrayed, sabotaging the evil Bosch and scurrying downed pilots to safety. God knows there weren't any Jews, black Americans(see Josephine Baker), north Africans or Communist involve to let us tell it. So in a sense the parochial condescension is much deserved.
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Old 12-11-2015, 03:21 PM
 
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Here's in depth one

http://digitalcommons.providence.edu...story_students
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:07 PM
 
1,519 posts, read 1,094,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWiseWino View Post
Author Robert Gildea's new book "Fighters in the Shadows" argues that contrary to the Gaulist mythology the French Resistance was less a popular force French mass resistance but rather a collection of diverse groups from fleeing Jews and German communist to exiled veterans of the Spanish Civil War along with a minority of French activist and intellectuals. I haven't yet had a chance to read the book, but found this review an interesting summary of Gildea's research.
Due to left vs right internal rivalries, the various French resistance groups could be pretty dangerous to each other as well. Though the internal rivalries in France did not reach the level of Yugoslavia and Greece where leftist and right wing groups fought a near civil war between themselves, a good number of informants in France were resistance fighters informing on rival groups.

Likewise the at least two French groups crossed the fuzzy line dividing "resistance fighters from "bandits" (In fairness, the US civil war had many groups cross that line). De Gaul gave French battalion commanders and their vaguely defined guerilla equivalants the power to impose death penalties for collaboration or criminal acts and to sieze the property of collaborators.

In the 1970s, two French resistance commanders were disinterred from veteran's cemetaries when it was revealed that they had ordered executions based largely on pre war personal grudges or political disputes and had a habit of defining collaborators as "people who have property that I want." The families of the victims were then given survivor benefits.
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Old 12-16-2015, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
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Way back when I was studying in college, that was more or less the view taken of the French Resistance. It was something which existed in the shadows, and while very organized, in some ways, was moldable. Nor was it ever large, but that was also necessary for safety.

The most dynamic thing that was discussed was that there were willing collaborators among the French, though they were not overly common, and an element of organized resistance which became important, but often in small ways. The vast majority were about surviving. They neither fought back nor collaborated, and obeyed the rules.

The thing is, if they had not been there to hide inside, and the Germans had grown generally suspicious, the Resistance couldn't have done what they did since the great surviving populace provided cover and a place to hide in plain sight.
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