Shadow War

Shadow War

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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • French
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0552097276
  • 9780552097277

Review Text

This survey contains a great deal of worthwhile material, though Michel's interpretations are sometimes tenuous. The book covers the Resistance in all of occupied Europe, understandably dwelling on French circumstantialities. Resisters ranged from the anti-Hitler plotters who shared the Nazis' war aims, to the mass-based organizations of which the Communist Party was the most important. Michel scrutinizes the social composition of these movements, noting that ordinary workers joined the Resistance chiefly to escape Nazi slave labor; he shows how viable networks and command structures were developed, and affectingly documents the "short life expectancy" of agents like radio operators and housewife liaisons. Conflicts among the Allies (e.g., over how to deal with de Gaulle) are briefly sketched, and Michel touches on the point that the maquis - the guerrilla bands - remained a small force undersupplied by the Anglo-Americans owing to the latter's fear of European revolution. He stresses the broad sociopolitical composition of the Resistance leadership, but doesn't explain why the Communists took the lead, except for question-begging allusions to their superior discipline. At the same time he softpedals the Communists' refusal to let the Resistance take over after the war in France and elsewhere, though he documents the Russian Army's standstill while the Warsaw uprising was crushed and the French C.P.'s successful effort to turn over the Paris insurrection to De Gaulle. More than a useful reference; less than a definitive study. (Kirkus Reviews)show more