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The Interpreter

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  26 ratings  ·  6 reviews
No story of World War II is more triumphant than the liberation of France, made famous in countless photos of Parisians waving American flags and kissing GIs, as columns of troops paraded down the Champs Elysees. Yet liberation is a messy, complex affair, in which cultural understanding can be as elusive as the search for justice by both the liberators and the liberated. O ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Free Press (first published August 30th 2005)
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The Interpreter is the re-telling of Louis Guilloux’s novel, OK, Joe. Louis Guilloux’s story was far more interesting. He served as a translator for the US Army during the aftermath of D-Day. The translator whose sole job is to translate between languages, not to judge, not to protest, not to attempt to change opinions was a witness to the inequities in the US Army and ultimately America in the 1940s. What he witnessed, what he was impotent to change, lodged in his soul. Unfortunately, I didn’t ...more
Dave Roberts
In WWII, nearly all the soldiers executed for crimes they committed were black--although only 15% of the Army was black. Why was this?

This carefully researched book centers on the story told by a Frenchman who served as an interpreter for the Army judicial system in France. The story follows two accused soldiers through their crimes, trials and subsequent punishment.

The story is carefully researched, and filled with citations, so I was confident in its accuracy. Reading it, I get the idea that u
Well, this was a very interesting read, but it felt lacking. It was formatted along the lines of "Introduction to Story, Story, How I Researched Story". All of those parts were extremely interesting, but as soon as the story was over, I was half expecting and half hoping for a really big and deep conclusion. The epilogue could have been converted into a part of the story, rather than existing as a separate section, which, I think, would have helped with my feeling of incompleteness.

However, all
-Strong storyteller with interesting perspective
-Ignores the racisms that were pervasive around the world at that time, focusing only on the Interpreter's perspective that was gained 20+ years after the war.
-Take the case comparison with a grain of salt--instead focus on the comparison of treatment of the trials and the extreme difference in outcomes.
Margaret Sankey
As Allied armies liberated western France, novelist Louis Guilloux volunteered as a translator of French and his native Breton dialect--and found himself in two court-martial proceedings for murder. Haunted by the experience, he novelized them in 1976 as _Okay, Joe_, contrasting the process as applied to defendants who were African-American and white, enlisted and officer, supply company and ranger, and victims who were local peasants and an ex-French Foreign Legionary with a German accent. Kapl ...more
A good book. Good read. Not necessarily good history, but engaging as a look into military justice and language.
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