Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupation

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9780805071689: Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupation
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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.

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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.

From Publishers Weekly:

Oxford historian Gildea examines the gamut of French responses to the Nazi occupation of WWII, combining archival research with interviews of some 50 ordinary men and women who survived the war in the Loire Valley. These individuals range over the entire political, religious and social spectrum of France during the occupation. Gildea is especially interested in the creation of postwar narratives about the occupation-attempts to organize memories around such themes as the noble resistance hero confronting the brutal invader or the opposite narrative of pervasive collaboration by the French. Gildea says that after the liberation, right-wing Catholics, Gaullists, the displaced bureaucrats of Vichy, the few surviving Jews and the Communists all competed for control of the occupation's history. In fact, his research shows, events during the war were not as clear-cut as the postliberation myths suggest. Instead, rather than being all heroes or all collaborators, the French had to improvise, playing an intricate (and increasingly dangerous) double game of impressing the Germans as cooperative while carving out as much autonomy as possible as conditions changed. Overall, Gildea sees the French as creative and flexible, with interest groups such as industrial workers or farmers devising strategies and building networks for self-protection. The horizons of people's loyalties shrank from the nation as a whole to the factory, the village or the family. 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. 16 pages of photos, 5 maps not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780312423599: Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupation

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ISBN 10:  0312423594 ISBN 13:  9780312423599
Publisher: Picador, 2004
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9780330488655: Marianne In Chains

Pan Books, 2003
Softcover

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