Marianne in Chains by Robert Gildea
Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupation

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Robert Gildea

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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.
 
Published July 30, 2013 by Metropolitan Books. 528 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Comics & Graphic Novels, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Marianne in Chains

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in particular, rural communities deliberately isolated themselves the more authoritarian the Vichy government became, turning to the black market and resisting mostly in economic matters—by, for instance, evading taxes and keeping “resources out of the hands of the Germans unless the Germans were...

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The Guardian

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Marianne in Chains: In Search of the German Occupation of France 1940-45 by Robert Gildea (Pan, £8.99) After the war it was easier for the French to accept the gospel of resistance and liberation than to confront the true complexities of the occupation.

Oct 25 2003 | Read Full Review of Marianne in Chains : Daily Li...

Publishers Weekly

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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.

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Star Tribune

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To those trapped in the perennial resistance-vs.-collaboration debate, Robert Gildea has done a great service in his new book, "Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupation."

Aug 23 2003 | Read Full Review of Marianne in Chains : Daily Li...

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