On March 3, to commemorate the centenary of the first publication by French Jewish historian Marc Bloch, CNRS editions reprinted Bloch’s “Historical Miscellanies” (Mélanges historiques). Carole Fink’s 1991 “Marc Bloch: A Life in History” from Cambridge University Press explains how Lyons-born Marc Bloch was an admirably lucid, groundbreaking historian, as well as heroic man of action, fighting in two World Wars before being tortured and shot as a Resistant by the Germans in 1944.
Bloch’s scholarly achievements, such as “Feudal Society”; “French Rural History: An Essay on Its Basic Characteristics”; and “The Historian’s Craft” are still celebrated by today’s historians, such as in Susan Friedman’s 2004 “Marc Bloch, Sociology and Geography: Encountering Changing Disciplines” from Cambridge University Press. Yet atypically, Bloch’s most stunning book was inspired by his personal experiences in the Second World War, “Strange Defeat” (L’Etrange défaite), written in 1940 after the German invasion, still available from Norton Publishers as well as in the original language, from Les editions Folio Gallimard.
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