strange defeat book review

But the fact is that there is a great deal of repetition and it is hard to draw our the relevant lessons. This is real though, and our author a genuine hero. 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. 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. Allied misjudgements, excellent German planning, and a lot of luck were the culprits of France's defeat. There is a dry-eyed innocence in the reporting that makes the shattering news it conveys more momentous than anything I have read in more scholarly, more documented, chronicles of the period which overwhelm citizen experience with broader perspectives. However, his experience in both wars against Germany give his perspective you'll rarely find anywhere else in personal histories. Everyone should read this. Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. An English translation was published by W. W. Norton in 1968. 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. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Although I graduated from West Point and studied military history both as part of my profession and also as an avocation, I could never really comprehend how the Germans pulled off the defeat of France, from a purely military and logistical standpoint. A comprehensive account of France's failures by one of its most prominent scholars. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. 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. Marc Bloch was a professional historian of the Middle Ages, so the prose can be a tad elaborate, but it is frankly a refreshing difference from the routine language of most military histories. Perhaps it would have been ironically interesting, had he lived, to learn what he would have made of Indochine, Algerie, Gaullism and the heady days of 1968. New African American Histories and Biographies to Read Now. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. In reading it, I found that it was also a war memoir with absurdist themes. This page works best with JavaScript. The author went on to be a major figure in the French Resistance and was shot for his efforts. The macro waves drowning the country are inferred from his micro observations. Years ago I read somewhere that it is beneficial to read books in topical clusters, i.e., that are somehow connected to one another. Book Review: Strange Defeat by Marc Bloch | Mboten List 2: March Bloch and the Strange Defeat 4. academics (several of whom had served in the Great War). Book reviews. The tone for this school of thought was certainly set by the great French medievalist … This short, very well written book is the judgement of a prominent French historian on how France came to be so swiftly defeated in World War Two, not as a matter of tactics and movements on maps, but also in how the seeds of defeat lay in the state of the nation. 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. Start by marking “Strange Defeat” as Want to Read: Error rating book. Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2018. The sad story and De Profundis of how and why every segment of society gave in when the Germans came. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. This is his first-order diagnosis of why the French military was so utterly unprepared for the war of movement that unfolded in the May 1940, despite having seen the adequate warnings of what it could look like in Poland in September 1939. Buy Strange Defeat by Bloch, Marc (ISBN: 9781773236100) from Amazon's Book Store. Strongly recommended, but you may find it too close for comfort to things you see in the world around you today. 54 reviews. While some forces fought bravely, others retreated before contact with the enemy. (Among the malaises he identifies, I don't think he mentions anti-semitism. I wonder if Strange Defeat is required reading in the army staff colleges of the world--not so much ma, This is a hell of a book. For example, Bloch critiques the production of French industry, when it later became clear that this was not a problem. Three themes dominate the book: the influence of World War I upon France, the influence of Marc Bloch's Strange Defeat on historians, including the contributors, and Jean- Baptiste Duroselle's view of "decadence" as an explanation for the French defeat. Strange Defeat: a statement of evidence written in 1940 Marc Bloch 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 the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. Indeed, without regret or melancholy, there seems to have been an absolute faith in the eventual disappearance of the old, pre-popular front, pre-war French order, as much as of French political and military men, as of pre-war French bourgeoisie. He was a good man in addition to being a great historian. 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. No one escapes his wrath: not the general staff, not the field commanders, not the industrialists, not the proletarians, not the intellectuals, not the newspapers, not the English. This small book of three parts was written by Marc Bloch immediately after the capitulation of France to Nazi Germany on June 22, 1940. 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. L'Étrange Défaite is a book written in the summer of 1940 by French historian Marc Bloch. 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. Americans make fun of France's defeat in 1940, but if the American Army of 1940 had been there it would absolutely have been defeated as badly as the French and British were. 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. I can not recommend it highly enough. Does there exist an audio production of this book for a blind friend, please? Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King... To see what your friends thought of this book. 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). Strange Defeat presents the Fall of France, 1940 from the French perspective. What seems to have been missing was clear, innovative thinking. Buy a cheap copy of Strange Defeat book by Marc Bloch. An engaging, thoroughly researched account of Nazi Germany’s surprising, rapid defeat of French and Allied forces in the spring of 1940. I think it's an important book, a must read for history buffs. ), 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. How ironic this observation in the midst of the overwhelming propaganda for Petain's phony reactionary, bullying National Revolution and its relatively widespread support (at least in its early stages) in Occupied and Vichy France. Was defeat really so strange? Its impact is so profound is that even inspired at least one book title, "Strange Victory," by Ernest May. The fact that Bloch was executed by the Gestapo as a leader of the French resistance, a fate that he knew was comingy, and that France was liberated after fighting on under the leadership of De Gaul, a development which he hoped for, add to the poignancy of this book as a testament aiming at enlightening the next generation and calling on it to do better. There were plenty of tanks and planes produced. Bloch was a founder of the Annales School, best known for his pioneering studies French Rural History and Feudal Society and his posthumously-published unfinished meditation on the writing of history, The Historian's Craft. The main thesis of the book is that the French leadership failed to recognize that "the whole rhythm of modern warfare had changed its tempo." This is a short book and is an extraordinary read - particularly in these times. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Among them were, I believe, the backwardness of the French Army of the 1930's. 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. 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. The short version is that the Germans had the best fighter aircraft force in the world in 1940, and decent tanks (though not the best - that came later), and they used the forces in a way which was unheard of then, and is now standard to all major armies of the world. As a proper historian, he gives the Germans credit where it is due -- despite his obvious historical antipathy towards them (he fought in the Great War). 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. One individual's (a historian and philosopher) history of the military fall of France - May-June, 1940. 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). A fascinating text. Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. The author went on to be a major figure in the French Resistance and was shot for his. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the French collapse in 1940. 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. by W. W. Norton Company. 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. 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. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. 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. The Nazis had chucked that playbook away. This is one of the books that helped me understand. Bloch transferred to Montpellier University in the winter 1941 (for the warmer climate since his wife was in frail health). 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 Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Bloch is an historian who fought in WWI and WWII and writes this in reflection on France's quick fall to Germany in 1940 as he is fighting in the resistance where he will eventually be executed by the occupying Germans. France: A Strange Defeat by Mark Lilla | The New York Review of Books 12/03/15 16:22 I love the analysis and reasoning but found the telling a little tedious and in too much detail. But the fact is that there is a great deal of repetition and it is hard to draw our the relevant lessons. I feel like this works better as a primary source than as a objective take on the French defeat. Here are the main ones that I recall: The French government was dysfunctional; defense funds were miss- spent on construction of a defensive wall (i.e., the Maginot line which the Nazis circumvented) instead of on tanks and planes; the French Army was commanded by old men (and younger officers trained by them) who thought the new War would be exactly like the last one and adopted their strategy and tactics accordingly, ignoring the blitzkrieg tactics and capabilities Germany displayed in its invasion of Poland. Verified Purchase. A very interesting and entertaining view of the French defeat by the Germans in 1940. He was captured and shot by the Gestapo during the German occupation of France for his work in the French Resistance. Mark Bloch saved the best of his self-written biography until the last chapter. If men like Marc Bloch had been present in the upper echelons of the French military in the 1930s, the story might have been a very different one. He wrote the book when he returned to his University teaching post soon after France surrendered. Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2020. One of the best books I have ever read. Bloch is an historian who fought in WWI and WWII and writes this in reflection on France's qui. 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. Exceptional and accurate analysis of French defeat in WWII, Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2009. The analysis in its third section could equally apply to events from 2016 onwards. Bloch does touch on briefly the spiritual malaise and these points, but they merit greater explanation than the leadershi. Welcome back. I know the book was written under difficult circumstances and the author was killed before he could do a review and possible reorganization. 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. 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. 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. He wrote, Years ago I read somewhere that it is beneficial to read books in topical clusters, i.e., that are somehow connected to one another. Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. Bloch seems a little too invested at throwing blame at the generals or the unions or many other targets. 5.0 out of 5 stars IMPORTANT FOR UNDERSTANDING CONTEMPORARY FATEFUL PREDICAMENTS. Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2020. Bloc is a brilliant writer with good historical insight. The end gets a bit dense about French society and politics, but the overall perspective is well worth this short read. A very interesting and entertaining view of the French defeat by the Germans in 1940. Bloch does touch on briefly the spiritual malaise and these points, but they merit greater explanation than the leadership failures and sclerotic thinking he observed and catalogued in the army. 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. 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). But the fact is that there is a great deal of repetition and it is hard to draw our the relevant lessons. If so, what would Europe have looked like after Germany was decimated at the Maginot line? He was unique in every way. 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. This short, very well written book is the judgement of a prominent French historian on how France came to be so swiftly defeated in World War Two, not as a matter of tactics and movements on maps, but also in how the seeds of defeat lay in the state of the nation. I found this to be an excellent book about the surprising and earth-shattering defeat of France and Britain in May of 1940. Those would be more on the just 3-star level. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Marc Léopold Benjamin Bloch (6 July 1886 in Lyon – 16 June 1944 in Saint-Didier-de-Formans) was a medieval historian, University Professor and French Army officer. It is impossible for me to read this book without admiring the author as a deep thinker clinging to high values and willing to say delicately but clearly the truth on the causes of the conquest of France by the Germans in the first phases of World War Two. A dispirited French Army, lacking confidence in itself and its leaders, was rapidly overwhelmed by the German Army, honed to a fine edge after its easy victory in Poland. i highly recommend the Audible copy of Case Red by Robert Forczyk, which mentions this book in detail. 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. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. “No doubt they thought that by allowing themselves to become martyrs to their nerves they were giving proof of a fine stoicism, just as by living in a continual rush they produced in their own minds an illusion of activity.”, “Similarly, when it is not the past that we are studying, but some set of phenomena relating to a principle still active, we expect to be told whenever a new piece of evidence may emerge, in the light of which it is quite possible that the whole elaborate structure of our conclusions will have to be changed.”. Disabling it will result in some disabled or missing features. His testament was one that placed loyalty to his country rather than to Zionism. Refresh and try again. I wonder if Strange Defeat is required reading in the army staff colleges of the world--not so much maybe for the specifics, but for the passion behind the dry, rather scholarly words and the deeper questions about the webs that connect one's country, its causes, its civilians and the soldiers who are supposed to defend them. The French were still relying on runners and carrier pigeons. 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). He created the "Annales" school of history almost single handedly. As both an avid reader of WWII history and early 20th century European history I find Marc Bloch's analysis of the French defeat not only insightful but his first hand accounts amazingly accurate. I know the book was written under difficult circumstances and the author was killed before he could do a review and possible reorganization. I know the book was written under difficult circumstances and the author was killed before he could do a review and possible reorganization. But someone should take up the premise of this book. A police dragnet spread out as the killers veered through the city before they escaped in the direction of Reims. He was captu. Worth a read. As it was, and as Bloch makes clear, the campaign was fought, and lost, by men who were still fighting WW1. 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) . 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. Reading this hook is to be humbled by a patriot of France. 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. Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. Accessible and concise, the book offers a wide-ranging synthesis of key themes and events. Here he continued to teach for another 18 months before dismissal. Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2015. Why did Germany defeat France so easily in 1940? 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. For example, Bloch critiques the production of French industry, when it later became clear that this was not a problem. What seems to have been missing was clear, innovative thinking. He counterposes the French decisions and methods to that of the Germans in the interwar period and during the Phoney War. Indispensible for Understanding 20th Century France, Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2006. This is a hell of a book. It wd be beneath his dignity--but the reader should be in no doubt. My main reason for finding and reading this book is that it often shows up in citations and direct quotations in other histories on the fall of France in 1940. Great insight into the unpreparedness of the French army during the German invasion. The author, a noted medieval historian, fought in both world wars and during the second was a Resistance leader, executed by the Nazis in 1944. I knew 40 years ago that he had a first-rate mind. 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. Move fast, obtain air superiority, punch through the enemy's front line with massed tanks, and then run around in the enemy's rear areas wreaking havoc on their re-supply and sowing fear and confusion. Strange Defeat by Marc Bloch L'Etrange defaite (English, "Strange Defeat") is a book written in the summer of 1940 by French historian Marc Bloch and published after his death in the summer of 1944. 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. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. August 2000. The short version is that the Germans had the best fighter aircraft force in the world in 1940, and decent tanks (thoug. A gem of a book about WWII by a great medievalist. 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. 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. 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). Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Eyewitness Account of the French Defeat in WWII, Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2011. when examining the Franco-British alliance’s shortcomings. Although I graduated from West Point and studied military history both as part of my profession and also as an avocation, I could never really comprehend how the Germans pulled off the defeat of France, from a purely military and logistical standpoint. Some of his explanations for France’s collapse may ( or may not) offer lessons for us today. Not the official self-defensive view of the French political-military establishment, but from the grounds-eye of a French Reservist Captain working in the Fuel Supply system in Northern France in 1940. Among the many possible and traditional villains of French political life, all come in for condemnation save, curiously, the Church (which he never mentions). It is also a subtle window into the French social system of classes and the tensions between them, he unabashedly supports his own class and that of the working man -- which not only explains some of the events leading to 1940, but offes insight into the post-war actions of DeGaulle and others. So often, Godwin's law or the persistent apologists for Communism hinder us from learning badly needed lessons from the tulmutuous twentieth century. Fyi, Marc Bloch, who worked in the Resistance after the debacle of 1940 was later killed by the Gestapo. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in WWII or that period in general. 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. Messages sometimes failed to reach their destinations in a timely manner or at all. Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2012. I found this book very helpful in understanding the Fall of France in 1940. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Strange Defeat: A Statement of Evidence Written in 1940 at Amazon.com. He gives an insider's viewpoint and is cynically funny, which I didn't expect. 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. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. July 17th 1999 You can still see all customer reviews for the product. 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.

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