Distinguished biographer Charles Williams sets the record straight on one of the most controversial figures to emerge during World War II. This is the true story of Pétain--an orphan peasant boy who became Commander in Chief of the French Army and a hero of the First World War, but fell from grace when he collaborated with Nazi occupiers. In revealing the motivations and determining factors behind Pétain's decisions, one of the most complex and tumultuous periods in French history is expertly unraveled. Packed with rich battle scenes and dramatic prose, Williams delivers a startling portrait of a controversial figure who wound up on the wrong side of French history.
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Charles Williams is the critically acclaimed author of The Last Great Frenchman: A Life of General de Gaulle and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the British House of Lords.Review:
"A good read...Williams' account of Petain's gradual mental decline and of his many blunders as a political leader is impressive and fair."--Foreign Affairs "British biographer Charles Williams has written a compelling, balanced account of one of the most controversial figures in French history."--The Washington Times “In this work of cool authority, Williams...places Pétain’s actions and attitudes in their precise and proper context...Williams accomplishes one of the most difficult of the historian’s tasks: he strips away what we know now in order to reveal what his subjects knew then.”--The Atlantic Monthly "An intriguing study . . . Charles Williams has written a searching examination. . . ."--The Weekly Standard "Williams has written a compelling, balanced account of one of the most controversial figures in French history."--The Washington Times "A painstakingly researched, carefully written book that challenges readers to reassess Petain's conviction for treason in 1945 in light of his entire background and career."--Library Journal "In effectively and absorbingly chronicling his [Petain's] rise and fall, the author shows that in the next world war, as head of the semi-autonomous puppet government in the unoccupied zone in southern France, he collaborated with the Germans, who occupied the rest of the country...Williams concludes that Petain 'ended up on the wrong side of history,' but seeks to defend him, writing that 'inadequate he may have been for the task for which he thought himself qualified, but he was not, and had never been, a traitor.'"--Booklist
"Explosive"--The [London] Times
"[Williams] writes about the flesh and blood Petain--and he writes very well. The pacing of the narrative and the observations of place, time and character are managed with admirable skill; peasant society, the army, the atmosphere at Vichy, the trial and the final years of imprisonment are vividly rendered."--The Economist"This masterly book is a triump of balance, sustained scholarship and readability...Anyone with a serious interest in modern France should buy it...Williams's sustained biographical focus is riveting."--The Independent (London)
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Buchbeschreibung New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Hardcover. Dustjacket. xi, 298 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Condition : very good copy. ISBN 1403970114[KEYWORDS: HISTORY*, French history. Artikel-Nr. 205779