La Difference

France’s New Deal
From the Thirties to the Postwar Era
Philip Nord
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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About the Author

Steven Englund, a longtime Commonweal contributor, is currently writing a study, From Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism, and Back Again.