VICHY: Two Years of Deception by Leon Marchal
Kirkus Star

VICHY: Two Years of Deception

Email this review


An important contribution to better understanding of the pattern of the Vichy regime, ending ""as it began, in abdication and dishonor"". It is not, however, of much news value. The author, up to the accession of Laval, a member of the Henry-Haye embassy in Washington, has observed diplomatic restraint, and withheld information available to him only in his diplomatic capacity. The result, while important as an orderly marshalling of events, as a revealing analysis of the personalities and events of the Vichy regime, adds virtually nothing not already known to informed sources. For the general public, however, he is enlightening in his honest assessment of Petain, whose dishonor he slowly and reluctantly acknowledged, of Laval, traitor from the start, of Darlan, a willing tool of Vichy and Berlin, and of other lesser lights. His own sympathy and faith in De Gaulle, backed, he feels, by 90% of the French people, in both occupied and unoccupied France, is clearly stated. His record ends with a brief concluding postscript, reporting the invasion of North Africa, the fall of any semblance of unoccupied France. He stops short of the aftermath, with all its new complexities and confusions. The book is solid reading, informative, clearly organized and presented. But it lacks the spark that will make it essential reading for the masses. A definitive book could not yet have been written. Meantime, this serves a purpose.

ISBN: 0548073163
Publisher: Macmillan