The Killing Fields of Provence (ePub)
Occupation, Resistance and Liberation in the South of France
In the South of France, the most memorable event of the Second World War was the sea and airborne invasion of 15 August 1944. Perhaps because it went relatively smoothly, this ‘Second D-Day’ was soon relegated to the back pages of history. Operation Dragoon and the liberation is however only a small part of the story. The arrival of the Allies was preceded by years of oppression and strife. Provençal people still struggle to come to terms with the painful past of split-allegiances and empty stomachs which epitomize les années noires (the dark years).
The author’s blend of local and social history enables the English-language reader to discover the parallel universe which exists alongside these idyllic shores. In every corner of Provence, the mindful traveller will come across words, chipped into stone, which exhort: Passant, souviens-toi (passerby, remember). These sacred places of memory tell a story of duplicity, defiance, and ultimately, deliverance. Whether the stuff of legends, or the everyday experiences of lesser mortals, humanity is used to explain the Franco-American experience of wartime Provence, as seen through an Anglo-Saxon prism.
The author has provided a complete and well-researched study of the French Resistance groups, Allied agents and Special Forces operating against the Germans in the South of France. The story of the resistance in the South of France has been covered far less than the situation in Northern and Western France, a deficiency corrected by this very readable book. – Very Highly Recommended.Firetrench
Read the full review here
As featured byFrance Magazine, June 2020
It was certainly a good read of which I learnt quite a bit from, as I said earlier the Killing Fields of Provence are like the forgotten D-Day with far more publicity going to the one in northern France. This book comes with and excellent array of clear maps and illustrations to help form the picture in the mind, and towards the end of the book you have I must say high quality sections on abbreviations, a timeline, sources both published and unpublished and notes. All of which really do add to the weight and quality of this book in making it a must read and excellent stature. I’m going to give this a well-deserved 5 out 5 stars.UK Historian
Click here to listen to James Bourhill speak with broadcaster Noah TetznerStories of the Second World War podcast
Pen and Sword produce to their normal high standard with good glossy images that are relevant.Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)
Read the full review here
This book is a very detailed and well researched account of the progress of the war in Southern France. It necessarily focuses on the efforts of the various French resistance groups and the German counter efforts as well as the Allied landings in 1944. The narrative is pacey and at no time is the reader saturated in detail so that the overview is obscured. A well constructed narrative history of a region that was subsidiary to the main efforts in Northern Europe but was important to the eventual outcome.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide