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Martyred Village: Commemorating the 1944 Massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0520224834 ISBN-10: 0520224833 Edition: 0th

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Martyred Village: Commemorating the 1944 Massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane + Strange Defeat + A Life of Her Own: The Transformation of a Countrywoman in 20th-Century France
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520224833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520224834
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Four days after the Allied landings in Normandy, SS troops encircled the town of Oradour in the rolling farm country of the Limousin and rounded up its inhabitants. In the marketplace they divided the men from the women and children. The men were marched off to barns nearby and shot. The soldiers locked the women and children in the church, shot them, and set the building (and the rest of the town) on fire. Those residents of Oradour who had been away for the day, or had managed to escape the roundup, returned to a blackened scene of horror, carnage, and devastation."

University of Iowa history professor Sarah Farmer's Martyred Village is not, however, a book about that massacre, but about how the French people have chosen to remember it in the years since. How did the massacre at Oradour become a symbol for the French experience at the hands of the occupying German forces? What went into the decision to create no monument to the dead but to allow the ruined husk of a village to remain as permanent testimony to what happened? And what do visitors to those ruins experience when they go there today? How have the residents of the "new town," adjacent to the scene, dealt with their position? These are some of the questions that Farmer addresses in her precise examination of the relationship between individual remembrances and the collective commemorations of history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In June 1944, Nazi troops in the French town of Oradour-sur-Glane massacred more than 600 men, women and children and torched the town. Today, the town's ruins remain as a national monument, yet the meaning of what happened there has changed over time, as the French have struggled to come to terms with the legacy of WWII. Farmer, a history professor at the University of Iowa, published a version of this book in French four years ago; her firsthand knowledge of the site and survivors of the massacre ("historians of their own experience") give the book an emotional punch. Farmer starts with an account of the town's destruction, then describes how Oradour became the premier symbol of French innocence destroyed by Nazi brutality. By the 1950s, however, when 21 soldiers who participated in the massacre were put on trial and ultimately pardoned, the war years no longer appeared so black and white. Of the 21 soldiers, 14 were French from Alsace, and unlike surviving citizens of Oradour, the French government was more concerned with forgetting collaborators than with memorializing victims. Farmer has a fine eye for irony, pointing out "the enormous difficulty and expense of trying to maintain a ruin in a ruined state." While the book does a fine job of summarizing France's postwar political infighting, the best moments are more personal: interviews with people who describe growing up in the tragic shadow of the old town, descriptions of the present-day ruins and meditations on the nature of memory. 26 b&w photos.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Sarah Farmer deserves high praise for the clear narration and helpful explanations throughout "Martyred Village." Other historians ought emulate her writing. She first describes the slaughter of 10 June 1944, SS troops killing the civilians of Oradour. She then places it in the context of 20th century France. Only nine months after the massacre, Charles de Gaulle solemnly visits the ruins. Quickly, Oradour becomes a site of pilgrimage. Disruption comes in 1953, when twenty-one soldiers of the SS are brought to trial in Bordeaux. Fourteen are Frenchmen from Alsace, thirteen conscripted by the Germans. Upon their conviction in court, the Alsatians were freed by amnesty granted by the National Assembly, yielding to protests from Strasbourg. The author's account continues to 1997. I appreciate the author's use of French and German names, ranks, and expressions. She clarifies the roles of the political parties. She treats well the topics of mourning, respect, memory, pilgrimage, and religion. As someone interested in electric transit, I hope someday to learn more of the rural tram from Limoges through Oradour, whatever its corporate name.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rich in NYC on October 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some reviewers may have missed the point here. As stated quite clearly in the introduction the book answers the question "how and why ,in the aftermath of the war, did this particular story emerge from the myriad possible stories that could be told". That question and many others are answered with great acumen. It is not a book about the specific events that took place on June 10' 1944, and it is not meant to be. There are several other very good books on the specific brutality of that day. The depth of research is evidenced in over sixty seven pages of notes, photographs and other material. The babbling/filler comment lacks any merit at all as this is a great read for anyone who is interested in the subject as outlined in the introduction. This book will enhance your understanding of a very interesting topic.
Very deeply researched!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By patrick butler on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
sarah farmer has brought about the first difinitive book based on the martyred village. instead on focusing on the rather well known facts of the horrific massmacre, she gives great insight and back ground to the events leading up and following the massacre. as well as giving a personal insight to it, using her own photography, she gives a great narrative and all round factually based book which gives alot of hard to get material. for those who have visited the site or simply an enthusiast, you need not look further than this compelling, easy to read book.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Severin Olson on January 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is not a bad book by any means, but it is true that it is mostly not a story of a massacre. The Nazi destruction of the town of Oradour is covered at the start, but is clearly not the author's main interest. I wouldn't describe it as 'filler for historic preservationists' as one Amazon reviewer put it, but the event does take back stage.

The bulk of the book looks at what happened to the village after the killings, where it quickly became a symbol both for France and the world. Officials sought to freeze the town as it was in June of '44, with considerable success. But how do you preserve destruction? Decaying buildings and cars are not willing to remain stable for decades for our reflection. The struggle to make it so has lessons for preservationists everywhere.

Martyred Village is a worthy read as long as the reader is willing to ponder these issues. Anyone looking for a lesson on wartime politics or Nazi brutality in France should look elsewhere.
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