France’s New Deal
From the Thirties to the Postwar Era
Princeton University Press, $39.50, 474 pp.
A historian’s tone may leave its mark long after a reader has forgotten the details of the book; it may make all the difference. This is even more true when the subject is well-known and controversial, and the arguments familiar. For many years now—since Robert Paxton’s pioneering study Vichy France—the tone taken by Anglo-American historians in works related to modern France has been procuratorial, when not triumphant: the able prosecutor thumping home a winning case, or, to switch...
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