He was unique in every way. The analysis in its third section could equally apply to events from 2016 onwards. In reading it, I found that it was also a war memoir with absurdist themes. A book about France’s defeat in World War II has taken on a curious resonance as the country gazes across the border at Germany and asks why it has weathered the pandemic better. Don't miss The Collapse of the Third Republic by Shirer if you're really into the subject matter of course; this is a smaller contribution than Shirer's but it is invaluable. Fyi, Marc Bloch, who worked in the Resistance after the debacle of 1940 was later killed by the Gestapo. He was assigned to the "Northern Front", and was among those encircled by the Germans in their May 1940 offensive, and was evacuated at Dunkirk. Bloch comes to a melancholic but inherently optimistic conclusion: the future of France will be built not by men of his generation, but by a new breed. He counterposes the French decisions and methods to that of the Germans in the interwar period and during the Phoney War. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published I know the book was written under difficult circumstances and the author was killed before he could do a review and possible reorganization. New African American Histories and Biographies to Read Now. A brief account of hell, written from hell, by a man who (as we know with hindsight) was bound for hell on earth at the hands of the Gestapo. There's a problem loading this menu right now. It wd be beneath his dignity--but the reader should be in no doubt. In the midst of his anguish, he nevertheless "brought to his study of the crisis all the critical faculty and all the penetrating analysis of a first-rate historian" (Christian Science Monitor). Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. This slim, unpretentious volume, written at the time events took place, and validated by the author's subsequent death at German's hands, is the best witness account we have of the disintegration of what at the time was regarded the most powerful army in the Allied camp. Bloch does touch on briefly the spiritual malaise and these points, but they merit greater explanation than the leadershi. Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France Ernest R. May Review by Roger Bishop. He was a world-renowned medieval scholar, so his mind was nuanced and perceptive, his approach unsentimental and objective; he brings the full intellectual rigor of his training and experience to extract all possible social, historical, and moral truth from the seemingly mundane. He kept at his craft but rather than delving in ancient manuscripts he reported on what he observed around him of an army, indeed a state, in rapid collapse. Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. He's a fascinating person as he later fought in the French Resistance and I wish he had survived (he was shot by the Gestapo in 1944) so that we could see if his opinion had changed with time. The French were still relying on runners and carrier pigeons. Although he was 53 years old at the outbreak of World War II, he voluntarily elected to continue service, and was eventually assigned as a divisional fuels officer. Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2020. At the time he was a renowned Medieval history professor who took up his reserve status in the French Army at the age of 52 only to see the arrogance, ineptitude and disgrace of the self-serving leadership of the French Army and government under Jenri Phillippe Petan. i highly recommend the Audible copy of Case Red by Robert Forczyk, which mentions this book in detail. As it was, and as Bloch makes clear, the campaign was fought, and lost, by men who were still fighting WW1. So often, Godwin's law or the persistent apologists for Communism hinder us from learning badly needed lessons from the tulmutuous twentieth century. There may also have been a defeatist attitude, partly based on a memory of terrible losses during World War I. Block was an eminent French historian who served in the First World War; volunteered for the second despite being a middle- aged grandfather; and was executed by the Nazis in 1944 for his work with the resistance. To Defeat the Few Book Review: Over the past 80 years, histories of the Battle of Britain have consistently portrayed the feats of 'The Few' (as they were immortalized in Churchill's famous speech) as being responsible for the RAF's victory in the epic battle. The book could have been written by a character in Renoir's 1939 masterpiece "Regle du Jeu." They began on the morning of January 7 right after two French Muslim terrorists infiltrated the offices of Charlie Hebdo in the Marais and killed twelve people. Book reviews. Indeed the many treasures come in seemingly casual descriptions of mundane events like millions of naked, flickering, low-wattage light-bulbs adumbrating the tragedy of national collapse. ), Marc Bloch's "present history" account of the Fall of France in the Spring of 1940 is rightly considered an essential account of the events: above all, it is a devastating critique of the conservatism of the military establishment and the failures of the military bureaucracy to create a machine made for war rather than pettifogging paper pushing and internal bureaucratic competition. I mean, being written by a resistance fighter while the war was active, obviously it's a lot less scientific than other examinations of the war, but Bloch can write. An engaging, thoroughly researched account of Nazi Germany’s surprising, rapid defeat of French and Allied forces in the spring of 1940. I just completed my World War 2 cluster with “Strange Defeat”, Marc Bloch’s analysis of why it was so easy for Nazi Germany to conqueror France. I knew 40 years ago that he had a first-rate mind. What I failed to grasp then was that he was also a Mahatma, "great-souled one". when examining the Franco-British alliance’s shortcomings. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. This is one of the books that helped me understand. He created the "Annales" school of history almost single handedly. A brief account of hell, written from hell, by a man who (as we know with hindsight) was bound for hell on earth at the hands of the Gestapo. As I read this book, I imagined I was sitting by a fireplace sharing a glass of wine with Marc Bloch who is sharing with me his history and assessments of his participation in WWI and WWII. But Chapter 3, where he covers their shortcomings as a people in recognizing the German threat and in being prepared to adequately deal with it, that is worth the time to read for sure. The sad story and De Profundis of how and why every segment of society gave in when the Germans came. The end gets a bit dense about French society and politics, but the overall perspective is well worth this short read. But the fact is that there is a great deal of repetition and it is hard to draw our the relevant lessons. This book was written after the defeat and before he joined the Resistance (in whose service he was captured, tortured and killed by the Gestapo). He's a fascinating person as he later fought in the French Resistance and I wish he had survived (he was shot by the Gestapo in 1944) so that we could see if his opinion had changed with time. Marc Bloch's "present history" account of the Fall of France in the Spring of 1940 is rightly considered an essential account of the events: above all, it is a devastating critique of the conservatism of the military establishment and the failures of the military bureaucracy to create a machine made for war rather than pettifogging paper pushing and internal bureaucratic competition. Among the many possible and traditional villains of French political life, all come in for condemnation save, curiously, the Church (which he never mentions). Among them were, I believe, the backwardness of the French Army of the 1930's. It takes a peculiar sort of courage to write the eye-witness history not only of a defeat, but of the comprehensive collapse of the country one loves, at the hands of an enemy one hates and despises from the depths of one's soul. I can not recommend it highly enough. I think it would have pleased him to have people read his words today, and learn from them while such cataclysmic results are still avoidable. Mark Bloch saved the best of his self-written biography until the last chapter. For three days the sirens never stopped in Paris. Much of the analysis is about Fench military politics in the period before the war and why the outcome was pre-ordained by the decisions the French made. But I expect the average reader will not be interested in the subject matter and everyone will struggle a bit with Bloch's writing style (or the English translation thereof) . Bloch approaches a subject matter which, I feel, few writers of his time could have with the same extraordinary level of emotional collectedness, clarity, or finesse—the complete disintegration of one’s nation, both military and social. By the second half of the book, I was highlighting passage after passage, wanting to post them to show the applicability of the lessons of the past to today. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in, IMPORTANT FOR UNDERSTANDING CONTEMPORARY FATEFUL PREDICAMENTS, Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2018. His thoughts are still so pertinent for today. There were plenty of tanks and planes produced. A truly fascinating account of the fall of France in 1940 by an extraordinary man - historian, WW1 vet, father of six, army officer in WW2 and fighter in the Resistance. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King... To see what your friends thought of this book. First couple of chapters on the military failings of the French Army in facing the Germans in WWII is pretty standard fare - fighting the last war, overly bureaucratic, etc. Even in the most abject moments of defeat, I don't think Bloch ever wavered in the belief that the Germans would eventually have to go. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the French collapse in 1940. Its impact is so profound is that even inspired at least one book title, "Strange Victory," by Ernest May. We’d love your help. Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. A fascinating text. Start by marking “Strange Defeat” as Want to Read: Error rating book. A hard read but it is well detailed and is written by an observant and aware author. Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Strange Defeat: A Statement of Evidence Written in 1940 at Amazon.com. In his passionate memoir about the defeat and betrayal of France in May-June 1940, Strange Defeat, the historian March Bloch, a man of the decent and moderate Left, lamented such blind pacifism and the concomitant dismissal of the legitimacy and dignity of patriotism and national loyalty. This is his first-order diagnosis of why the French military was so utterly unprepared for the war of movement th. A renowned historian and Resistance fighter — later executed by the Nazis — analyzes at first hand why France fell in 1940.Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during... Free shipping over $10. A poignant ...memoir, if that word can be used to describe this diagnosis that is oddly resonant in some ways, while failing to connect in others. France: A Strange Defeat by Mark Lilla | The New York Review of Books 12/03/15 16:22 The author went on to be a major figure in the French Resistance and was shot for his efforts. For that matter, a lot of his values really resonate today.... A shattering assessment of why the French were so easily defeated in 1940, written in the bleak moment immediately after the capitulation: We usually see alternative histories where the Nazis do better then they did in real life. Bloch served in the French army in both World War I and the opening of World War II so he was experienced in the workings of the army by the time he wrote the book in 1940. He did not need to assume leadership in a '"no-win" assignment in the French underground, but his commitment to liberating France exceeded that of obligations to his family of a devoted wife and seven children. However, this is only part of the story. He never let me forget that he was a Jew, but a Jew whose loyalty was always to France and the French Republic that opposed the Nazi conquest. I am simply overwhelmed. Bloc is a brilliant writer with good historical insight. Bloch was a veteran of World War I, and due to patriotic reasons, remained as a reserve officer between World War I and II, while earning a living as a professor and historian. What seems to have been missing was clear, innovative thinking. Bloch is an historian who fought in WWI and WWII and writes this in reflection on France's qui. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Book of the day Fiction Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan review – brilliantly strange Set across nine decades in an Edinburgh tenement, this haunted panorama is a dazzling outsider history I read Bloch as a medieval historian back in graduate school. Buy Strange Defeat by Bloch, Marc (ISBN: 9781773236100) from Amazon's Book Store. Verified Purchase. 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