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March 5, 2023


#Non-fiction WWII French Resistance

by NancyElin


L’armée du silence Histoire des réseaux de résistance en France 1940-1945 by Guillaume Pollack by Guillaume Pollack (no photo)


Finished: March 2023
Genre: non-fiction (WWII)
Rating: C+
Review: L’armée du silence (ISBN: 9791021049413)

Good news: I learned about a hidden side of a war. World War II was fought behind enemy lines by an army of silence. I did not realise how many resistance networks that were created led by the secret services of Free France and the Allies.
These networks are major players in the final victory against Nazi and fascist oppression. I kept wondering how the “resistance” is organised in Ukraine? We know they are there….

Good news: Excellent book for my French vocabulary. I don’t read many French history based books but hope to try more in the future.

Bad news: Writing style: At times the book lists so many people in the resistance (my head was spinning!),…names, dates of birth, schools attended, places etc. that goes on and on. The book read rather like a text book. After 200 pages I had to figure a way to keep reading…which was difficult. I underlined every name on a page…then proceeded to read around them! I was never going to remember all who joined the resistance so I need to grasp the gist of their operations. It is not written in a very exciting or particularly elaborate language, but perhaps it is better for that. It tells the stories of the resistance in a very meticulous and chronological manner.

Personal: This book is for the die-hard aficionado who yearns for MORE details about WW II. L’armée du silence is the story of men and MANY women who almost always remained anonymous Their secrets and the identity of their agents have so far been kept in archives in France and abroad, recently opened. I was most impressed by the best known network “Alliance”, by Georges Loustaunau-Lacau double agent who managed to get appointed to Vichy France. He made many daring escapes, survived concentration camps and eventually elected to the French National Assembly in 1951. What a life!



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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. It sounds like an important work but written in that dry style of historical nonfiction rather than the more recent and more easily digestible narrative nonfiction that pays attention to the storytelling features of language to keep readers engaged.

    The opening of archives will lead to more of these stories I’m sure. Well done on refreshing your French vocabulary!

    • Mar 5 2023

      Thanks for you comment, Claire. I agree storytelling is important….but the author has chosen to “…give us just the facts.” So many people were engaged in these networks and so many were captured due to informers. C’es la guerre!

      • Yes, I still believe there is way to present/write the facts that is easier on the reader, but it has to be learned.

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