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France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  104 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
This is the first comprehensive study of the German occupation of France between 1940 and 1944. The author examines the nature and extent of collaboration and resistance, different experiences of Occupation, the persecution of the Jews, intellectual and cultural life under Occupation, and the purge trials that followed. He concludes by tracing the legacy and memory of the ...more
Paperback, 690 pages
Published March 27th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published March 27th 2001)
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Ryan Wulfsohn
Feb 28, 2014 Ryan Wulfsohn rated it really liked it
By no means easy reading but certainly a very detailed history of what happened- politically, socially and in many other ways- in France under Nazi and Vichy rule. Doesn't shy away from the complications and contradictions inherent to this time and place. Highly recommended.
This book is a magnificent study of the grimmest period in France's history. Yet as Julian Jackson demonstrates, the origins of France's "dark years" lay not with Germany's defeat of France in 1940, but with the divisive and polarizing politics of the 1930s, during which many of the trends that played out during the Vichy years were established. Many conservative politicians saw France's humiliation as a product of social and political trends fostered by the Third Republic. Under Marshal Petain ...more
David Lowther
Dec 06, 2013 David Lowther rated it really liked it
My Kindle conked out half way through reading France: The Dark Years. Amazon were very good and replaced it but it took a while so reading this book took longer than I expected.

Having said that, this certainly was a tough read. I've seldom seen so many acronyms, used mostly for the myriad of political parties, resistance groups, church and education systems and uniformed organisations that appeared in occupied France. Some of these had been operating during the run-up to war and could account fo
Michael Selvin
May 09, 2014 Michael Selvin rated it really liked it
Excellent survey of the war years with discussion of the numerous entities involved in the Resistance, Vichy, Free French, and Germans. Balanced approach relative to Paxton. Sets up the complexity and difficulty for those who had to navigate these ignominious, treacherous, competitive, and morally corrupt waters. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. The conflicts and complexities are laid out with plenty of facts in support, France continues to struggle uncomfortably with these issues and a ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This was tough going at times, the level of detail is extremely high. It is overwhelmingly a political history of the Vichy time in France and I found the mass of names and organisations confusing and difficult to keep up with.
That said, I now understand much more about Vichy and how it came about, what it meant and still means to the French, a sad and at times grim tale.
Steven Patrick
Apr 12, 2014 Steven Patrick rated it it was amazing
Jackson writes accessible history for historians of all skill levels. France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944 is an excellent work on the occupation, resistance, and Vichy France. Jackson's strength is found in his ability to find unique people and stories from various perspectives to bring the past to life.
Liza Van
Jul 26, 2014 Liza Van rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! Un-put-downable. Superb social and political analys of Vichy and the Resistance. A huge tome I'd intended to just dip into, but found myself absolutely gripped.
J Puntillo
Aug 09, 2012 J Puntillo rated it it was amazing
Astonishing for the number of three letter acronyms Jackson could fit on a single page and still retain control of the narrative. Research is immensely deep and argumentative at every turn.
Apr 07, 2010 Emily added it
Shelves: history
Great treatment of the Vichy regime
Natalie Griffitts
Dec 11, 2016 Natalie Griffitts rated it it was amazing
Exposing the conditions of Vichy law on the French population, regardless of the side of the Demarcation Line, addressing the struggle of memory, and discussing the long pre-occupation history of anti-Semitism in France and how the country couldn't be 'restored' post-WWII makes this a vital book for an examination of the Holocaust, France during WWII, memory, and anti-Semitism. Just an all-around engrossing read.
Barry H. Wiley
Mar 20, 2015 Barry H. Wiley rated it it was amazing
The Dark Years -- a perfect description of France during the Vichy and Occupation years of WWII. The author does an excellent job of laying out the ugly reality of the Vichy collaboration with the Nazi regime, where French killed French who would tried to undermine the Vichy rule. And Jackson also describes the myth of the Resistance, which DeGaulle later admitted privately was a gamble that paid off. The Free French Forces, though courageous as individuals had little actual impact on the final ...more
Shaqer Rasheed
Dec 14, 2012 Shaqer Rasheed rated it liked it
Difficult to keep track of all the acronyms of resistance organizations and leaders at times. But probably it is fair to say the French didn't do much except for quarrel among themselves and wait for allied invasion. So much for the romantic myth of the French resistance. Even the Greeks showed more balls.
Gordon Howard
Feb 06, 2015 Gordon Howard rated it it was ok
Detailed study of World War II France is only for academics or people very deeply interested in the subject.
Cemal Özenir
Apr 20, 2015 Cemal Özenir rated it did not like it
A boring compendium of facts - almost entirely without emotion and reason. It was a struggle to finish it.
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One of the leading authorities on twentieth-century France, Julian Timothy Jackson is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London. He was educated at the University of Cambridge where he obtained his doctorate in 1982, having been supervised by Professor Christopher Andrew. After many years spent at the University of Wales, Swansea, he joined Queen Mary History Department in 2003. He ...more
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“Vichy emerged not only from what divided the French but also what united them: pacifism, fear of population decline, loss of confidence in national identity, anti-Semitism, discontent with existing political institutions, ambivalence about modernity. The existence of this common” 1 likes
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