Matthew Cobb’s Eleven Days In August
As Max Hastings writes in his Sunday Times review of Matthew Cobb’s Eleven Days In August “
is almost the only main participant of the Second World War that has never published an official history of its national experience, and probably never will because there is no possibility of achieving a consensus about what happened.”  France
For many years the French had their own highly regarded and best selling unofficial history of the war based largely on eye witness accounts - Henri Amouroux’s La Vie Des Francais Sous L’Occupation  (Life of the French Under the Occupation). By 1993 this work had grown to 10 volumes. Hastings’ point about consensus might be borne out by the fact that the Resistance fighting, Croix de guerre owner Amouroux, was accused of being an apologist for Papon and the Vichy Government in 1997 - and if not discredited certainly became an ‘ambiguous authority’.
Cobb did not set out to write a general history of the Second World War, he chose specifically to write about eleven days – one battle. He is of course required to contextualize the battle, but not more.
would know, had he read Cobb’s other work that he is far from ‘naïve’ or ‘unsympathetic to the cautious spirits in the French camp’; he is merely trying to remain objective and avoid the trap of being partisan. If there were ten Resistance fighters in a cellar there were ten ideologies and ten views of how the battle should be fought. Hastings pointed out this problem of consensus himself. Hastings
In short, it is a pity that
has shown a gap in his knowledge and could not be more generous in his praise. Matthew Cobb along with Richard Vinen are the leading English authorities of the Resistance and occupation of Hastings . France