Robert Paxton: The Outsider

Martin Evans discusses how the historian Robert Paxton shifted the terms of debate over the collective memory of Vichy France.

It is undoubtedly significant that the best book on the Vichy regime, the one that revolutionised the way in which French historians understand the period, was written by an outsider, the American academic Robert Paxton. However, the fact that his Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order 1940-44 now has the status of a classic in twentieth-century historiography means that it is easy to forget just how unpalatable the book was when it first appeared in French in 1973, one year after publication in the USA.

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