To contemporary observers looking back, official French attitudes towards immigrants and resident foreigners at times appear more than a little ambiguous. While officially espousing a rhetoric of 'inclusiveness', selection and stereotype have nonetheless been common.
John Charmley is, of course, no stranger to controversy.... How tempting it would be to begin a review of his latest book in this vein.
Research into the origins of the First World War, like the work undertaken on most controversial historical topics, is subject, at least to some extent, to the dictates of scholarly fashion. Thus, it was that, not so long ago, much of the writing on this issue focused on the cultural factors that, it is said, predisposed the people of Europe to rush headfirst towards the precipice.
If any era deserves the epithet 'tragic' then it is the 1940s in Greece. Conquered in spring 1941, its people were subjected to a brutal occupation regime, enduring famine, forced labour, deportation and terror. In 1942, armed resistance to the occupying powers of Germany, Italy and Bulgaria and the collaborationist government began in earnest.
In a widely-disseminated and highly-regarded set of 'Observations on Hitler' first published in 1978, the German commentator Sebastian Haffner defined the central problem facing any biographer of the dictator thus: 'Everything is missing from this life, from beginning to end - everything which would normally give a human life depth, warmth and dignit
Despite spurious claims being made in some quarters about 'a new consensus',(1) the history of fascism remains a bitterly contested area, even if, notwithstanding the Irving Trial, most contests occur in the seminar room rather than the courtroom.
I came to review this book with a great deal of anticipation. MacGregor Knox has been working for a long time on a comparative analysis of the fascist dictatorships, and is one of a line of US or US-trained historians who have breathed life into the recent study of contemporary European history by using a comparative approach.
Political caricature flourished as never before in France during the early years of Louis-Philippe's reign. It was Charles X's assault on freedom of the press that led to the Revolution of 1830, and the maintenance and guarantee of this freedom was one of the July Days' few tangible benefits.
This volume is long, and it is the second out of three. Some books are long because it is expected. That was the case with the old thèse d'état in France, and the tradition lives on under different administrative arrangements.
Saga and penecontemporaneous 'historical sources' are a minefield for interpretation into which archaeologists step at their peril.