Andrew Roberts

O Petain!

England’s Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy 1940–1942

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 490pp £25 order from our bookshop

It is a truism that the 1904 entente cordiale between Britain and France has been one of the most successful alliances in modern history, but, as this book eloquently proves, it entirely broke down for the vital two years between the French armistice with Germany in June 1940 and the German invasion of Vichy France in November 1942. In this excellent account of a woefully under-studied ‘war within a war’, Colin Smith has identified no fewer than fourteen occasions when Britons and Frenchmen fought each other during the Second World War.

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