SIXTY DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WEST: The Fall of France 1940 by Jacques Benoist-Mechin

SIXTY DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WEST: The Fall of France 1940

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A renowned French military historian's three volume study of France's 1940 collapse is neatly reduced to one by his British counterpart, Cyril Falls. France's military and spiritual demise is considered in three stages. Part One ends with Dunkirk; Part Two culminates in the June 22 Armistice; and Part Three concludes with Pierre Laval's successful move for a new Constitution under Marshal Petain. Many apt quotations from recorded conversations, speeches, biographies and letters add a human touch and break up the staccato effect of daily situation reports. Political and military events elsewhere are related to developments in France. British/French bickerings and recriminations over their respective commitments are fully exposed, and the thoroughness of Germany's military buildup is contrasted with almost total unpreparedness of the two allies. The author attributes this to early German adoption of the concept of armored warfare which French and British military leaders had refused to consider seriously (except for a few isolated figures such as Colonel de Gaulle). A good index, bibliography and maps, plus a competent initial translation by Peter Wiles add up to a tour de force destined for wide serious readership.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1963
Publisher: Putnam