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 Post subject: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:35 pm 
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...especially in the Dordogne.

I recently finished a novel about a Police Municipale officer oin a small Dordogne town, (some in the Le Bugue area may have raised eyebrows :-? ).

It is the first in a series and I was most impressed with all the local colour and, for one who is never quite sure, the relationship between Police Municipale, Police Nationale and the Gendarmerie.

Also an insight into old enmities (Resistance, Gaullist and communist, and Milice), something which is very difficult to talk about in small villages even today.

It is called 'Death in the Dordogne' by Martin Walker and held me rivetted for the first 90%. Sadly, I got the impression that the author ran out of steam and brought it to a rather abrupt and, to my mind unsatisfactory, conclusion. But, if you are interested in the period and location, well worth it for the 90%. :)

About £0.99 on Kindle I think.

The one I am reading at the moment is 'England's Last War Against France'. A factual account, it documents the inception of Vichy and the subsequent conflict between former allies. Only a quarter of the way through but finding it really gripping.

The author is Colin Smith. I forget the price, again from KIndle, but knowing me unlikely to be any more than a fiver. 8-|

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:04 pm 
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Best non-fiction book I have read is "France the Dark Years 1940-1944" - Julian Jackson

It covers Vichy France and the resistance in some detail.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:02 am 
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DaveW wrote:
Best non-fiction book I have read is "France the Dark Years 1940-1944" - Julian Jackson

It covers Vichy France and the resistance in some detail.


Duly noted, I'll check it out. :)

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:08 am 
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I totally agree with Dave W - I bought this a few years ago an it is an excellent book about France between 1940 1 1944. It is very well written and very readable - quite different from Ian Ousby's "Occupation" which I found absolutely turgid.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:16 am 
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Moondrop to Gascony is an exciting book, written by a french/english woman who was recruited into the SOE during WW2 .
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moondrop-Gasco ... 0955720818
Not so much about Vichy, but lots about the Resistance near to us. I had it but have given it away.
I've read a lot of books about local resistance groups, some in french, I gave a lot to the local library recently. If you read french the local Tabacs often have books about the Resistance in your area. I came to the conclusion that most Gascony people were too independent to kowtow to the vichy govt.
Another good one is Cruel Crossing, about escape routes over the Pyrenees, by Edward Stourton. I've still got that.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 11:23 am 
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I greatly enjoyed Alan Massie's four-book WW2 Bordeaux series, about a police superintendent based in Bordeaux. It's set between just before the occupation to the weeks at (and after) the end. Very well written, with characters who end up on all sides in the conflict. Well worth investigating if you've not read it. Begins with Death in Bordeaux.

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:24 pm 
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Thanks for that one, Andrew. I see it's available on Kindle - it's wonderful to be able to get hold of books at the click of a mouse !!!

I read Moondrop to Gascony years ago and yes, it's very good.
It's always interesting to read books about the war that are written from the French point of view which is often very different. It's hard to imagine what life was like under the Occupation ...


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:24 am 
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More interesting reading for me to go at then.

I am fascinating by the virulent anti-English attitudes of the Vichy generals and Admirals, a real eye opener to someone who always had the impression that Vichy was largely patriotic French men and women making the best of an impossible situation.

I wasn't prepared for the absolute adherence to Nazism of those who days and weeks before had been cooperating with the British to defeat it.

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:38 am 
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Patf wrote:

Another good one is Cruel Crossing, about escape routes over the Pyrenees, by Edward Stourton. I've still got that.


I read that via Kindle about 18 months ago, I agree, an excellent read.

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:01 pm 
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Lovely long list of books to order, thanks :)

I don't live far from Vichy and learned very quickly that it was best not to mention it because there are still very strong feelings about it here. Families who lost members who resisted, the local woods are full of sad memorials, but equally families who did very well out of it all and who still benefit from wealth gained at that time.

A leading member of the local resistance hid in the medieval tower of my neighbours' house. He became engaged to the daughter of the family, who was a waitress in the local restaurant. From his high tower window he could watch Marechal Petain arrive along with senior nazis from Vichy, to eat in the restaurant. This caused a lot of grief for the lady who owned it, her husband a prisoner of war in Germany. Locals helped out with supplies of charcuterie, veg etc which is presumably why they kept coming back.

The story ended well, he survived and they married. The current owners have kept the towers exactly as it was complete with his flags, books and the drawings of his fiancée that fill the walls.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:56 pm 
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Coco wrote:
Lovely long list of books to order, thanks :)

I don't live far from Vichy and learned very quickly that it was best not to mention it because there are still very strong feelings about it here. .


Indeed, Coco, which is why these books are such a valuable resource to interested outsiders.

A local councillor here, a very friendly and garulous chap, told me a great deal about some of the characters in the local Resistance, including one they called 'Deux Metres', because he was so tall. A refugee from Czechoslovakia he somehow ended up here but I don't know his eventual fate.

My friend told me that there were Milicien as well as Resistant famillies still living here but 'we are all friends now' he said, without being drawn on which was which.

Finally, I once witnessed an increasingly volatile arguement in the local bar, tolerated by the patron with amusement until one fairly spat the epithet 'milicien', at the other. At which point the boss quickly came round and in no uncertain terms put a total stop to it. I was the only witness to this and afterwards a very awkward silence ensued.

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:15 pm 
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There must come a time when all these former Miliciens are no longer with us. Will these strong feelings continue to the next generation - who weren't even around at the time ?


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2016 4:26 pm 
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Blaze wrote:
There must come a time when all these former Miliciens are no longer with us. Will these strong feelings continue to the next generation - who weren't even around at the time ?


True, though the 2 I saw argueing were not old enough to have been either, unless boy messengers, just a family history that was flung into an otherwise probably unconnected row.

One small footnote. Another friend, the chef of the local Anciens Combattantes, and a Resistance man himself I think, nevertheless when I made a disparaging remark about Petain, more less said 'yes but, the hero of Verdun.' Goes some way perhaps to explain the numbers who followed him to Vichy I think.

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:36 am 
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A great thread, thank you.......next reading season well sorted.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:56 am 
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The hostility between the Vichy French and the British in the early days of the war is partly explained by this battle:
http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=96
Mers-el-Kébir still isn't forgotten by some french people.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:56 am 
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Patf wrote:
The hostility between the Vichy French and the British in the early days of the war is partly explained by this battle:
http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=96
Mers-el-Kébir still isn't forgotten by some french people.


Indeed, I have been reading about it in detail in the 2nd book I mentioned above.

So many lives sacrificed because of in the first place the the desire of Darlan to impress the Nazis and further his own ambition, and in the 2nd place by the local admiral who apparently refused to believe that the British weren't bluffing and pushed them past several deadlines, including refusing to negociate personally with a lesser ranking oficer till there was no option left for the British admiral but to blow the French fleet out of the water.

Darlan could have taken one of several options offered out of the situation including sail the fleet to a British port, or to the Caribbean to be protected by the USA. His word that the French ships would not be allowed to come under Nazi command was worthless and surely he must have known it.

The entire blame rested with treacherous and self important French military leaders. The British admiral, Somerville, hated what he had to do and after bending over backwards to give the options more time, later called himself 'an inefficient butcher'. Possibly a reference to his later private admission that he had even then held back from a more savage attack.

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:01 pm 
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That's a brilliant link Patf - thank you.
Darlan was totally untrustworthy and would change sides if it suited him.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:17 pm 
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I never knew about it until recently. My Dad was in the RN during WW2 and I know that a lot of his service was in the Med. including Egypt. But he was one of the quiet ones who rarely mentioned it.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:30 pm 
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Patf wrote:
I never knew about it until recently. My Dad was in the RN during WW2 and I know that a lot of his service was in the Med. including Egypt. But he was one of the quiet ones who rarely mentioned it.


Mine too, Egypt, but Royal Engineers and now, reading on in this same book I am learning about the conflict with Vichy in Syria and Iraq. Makes you wonder about the silent ones. He never said anything at all about his time there.

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:12 pm 
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AndrewRose wrote:
I greatly enjoyed Alan Massie's four-book WW2 Bordeaux series, about a police superintendent based in Bordeaux. It's set between just before the occupation to the weeks at (and after) the end. Very well written, with characters who end up on all sides in the conflict. Well worth investigating if you've not read it. Begins with Death in Bordeaux.

Well, I'm hooked ! I've just read Death in Bordeaux and it was gripping. It must have been an extremely difficult time to be living in with the considerations of wanting to live as 'normal' a life as possible, continuing to earn a living, trying to decide who to support and who to nod and agree to etc etc.

I look forward to reading the others in the series !


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:43 pm 
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My wife's late uncle was at Mers-el-Kébir, and boarded one of the French vessels. He came out with a set of post-cards, and a french officer's notebook which contains beautifully drawn plans of French channel ports, harbour light sequences and other notes. Unfortunately, he added some maps of his own - he wasn't a talented draftsman. It is a fascinating book, however.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:34 am 
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I have also enjoyed "Death in Bordeaux" and have the second book in the trilogy on my kindle to read. Had a holiday in Bordeaux last year and spent a lomg afternoon in the Jean Moulin museum. Fascinating and all brought back with this book. Recommend strongly the museum, fascinating documents, photos, old weapons etc. and one fact I never knew. The Nazis "fined" individual communities large amounts for acts of resistance/sabotage etc. as well as the usual killings to accompany them.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:49 am 
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Wilbro - I've downloaded the next 2 books in the trilogy and have already started the second book. It's just as hard to put down and follows on from the first.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:04 am 
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I started the "Death in Bordeaux" yesterday afternoon and had read half of it by the time I went to sleep, I'm just about to go and continue, I suspect I'll finish it today, then I'll have to order the next 2.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:16 pm 
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As a result of the recommendations here I started "Death in Bordeaux" whilst on holiday over the past 2 weeks. I was hooked immediately. Great characters, good plot and beautiful writing. I immediately bought the second, which I read in 2 days, finishing as the plane was taxiing for take-off. I immediately downloaded the third so that I could carry on reading on the flight. I just made it. It is so good to find a book that you really grips you.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:22 pm 
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I'm on the third - Cold Winter in Bordeaux and it's just as gripping as the other two. I've already downloaded the fourth !
My only criticism is that the author does seem a bit obsessed with homosexuality !


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:43 am 
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I've read all four and enjoyed them immensely but, as you say Blaze, ridiculous amount of homosexuality in the stories. Nevertheless I then read "A Question of Loyalties" reviewed as his best book. Slow start but became engrossing but again, the man is obsessed with homosexuality. In his world heterosexuals are in a definite minority. It taints the stories.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:39 pm 
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On your recommendations I am reading "Death in Bordeaux", it is a very good read and I find the social and political comment scarily relevant to what is happening today, but not in mainland Europe.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:32 pm 
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Father in law was in the British navy before and during WWII. He was involved in the action and was part of a cutting out party. He spent the majority of the war in submarines so in many ways I am lucky that my wife was ever born as somehow he managed to survive when so many others did not!

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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:12 pm 
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Just finished the fourth one. The last book was a bit of a disappointment TBQH. Overall a reasonable read.


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 Post subject: Re: For anyone interested in Vichy and the Resistance...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:11 pm 
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Having seen the posts here I purchased the first one for my Kindle, yes a homo bias, but a good read will download the rest as time goes.

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