His original book was hastily written following the French loss. There's a problem loading this menu right now. On prose quality and emotional resonance alone, it's the best book on world war two that I've read (and I've read... quite a number of books on the subject.) What seems to have been missing was clear, innovative thinking. 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 gem of a book about WWII by a great medievalist. 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. 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 can not recommend it highly enough. 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. 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. 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). Among the many possible and traditional villains of French political life, all come in for condemnation save, curiously, the Church (which he never mentions). His testament was one that placed loyalty to his country rather than to Zionism. Bloch was an imminent social historian well known throughout Europe for his teaching and analyses of rural societies and feudalism. 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). He was unique in every way. Allied misjudgements, excellent German planning, and a lot of luck were the culprits of France's defeat. 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. Taking as his starting point the famous 1944 essay, Strange Defeat, by the French historian Marc Bloch, Ernest May sets out in this book to understand why it was that France collapsed so quickly when attacked by Nazi Germany in 1940.For over fifty years, Bloch's conclusions have carried great weight in our understanding of what happened. 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. 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. He was in his late forties when the war started but nonetheless, served with honor, very much with his eyes-opened, did his duty in the army and kept his brain functioning throughout rather than putting it on hold in blind patriotism (such a treacherous, over-rated popular paliative). Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France Ernest R. May Review by Roger Bishop. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. August 2000. 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. 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. This is not to minimize others' works, nor to regard M. Bloch as a "minimalist": au contraire. For example, Bloch critiques the production of French industry, when it later became clear that this was not a problem. He was captu. 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. 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