Reviews for Defying Vichy





"Pike takes a micro-level approach, exploring acts of resistance from the earliest days of Vichy rule and Occupation through to the Liberation...These stories never fail to be insightful. "

Doctor David Lees - June 2020 - Modern and Contemporary France

"This vivid and evocative account of the Resistance in Dordogne details the exploits of some remarkable personalities and makes us acutely aware of their courage and the dangers they faced. Robert Pike is to be applauded for bringing these stories to a wider readership."


Professor Hanna Diamond, author of Fleeing Hitler: France 1940 and Women and the Second World War in France, 1939-1948: Choices and Constraints

(University of Cardiff)

‘‘Using the pioneer work of local French historians in tracking down ex-Resisters, and doing his own interviews, Robert Pike has produced a book on the largely rural Dordogne full of specific names and places and pulsating with action and detailed stories.’’


Professor Rod Kedward, Author of La Vie en Bleu. France and the French since 1900, and In Search of the Maquis, Rural Resistance in Southern France 1942-1944.

(Emeritus Professor of History, University of Sussex)

"Defying Vichy takes us into the heart of the French Resistance: the Dordogne region. Using eyewitness accounts and archival material, Robert Pike skilfully shows how ordinary people responded to the German occupation: some heroically, others less so. Above all, this story is rooted in the towns, villages and wooded hillsides of the Dordogne, which Pike knows so well, and which come alive in this moving account of the darkest and brightest period in French history."


Professor Matthew Cobb, author of The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis and Eleven Days in August: The Liberation of Paris in 1944.

(University of Manchester)

“Pacey and engaging, this study explores the drama and complexity of the German occupation and resistance, highlighting moral ambiguities, deceit, betrayal and violence. A fascinating contribution to the field.”


Professor Robert Gildea, author of Fighters in the Shadowsand Marianne in Chains

(University of Oxford)

“By focusing on a single area of France - the Dordogne - Robert Pike has not only produced a meticulously researched and valuable contribution to the history of the German occupation, but a reminder of how courageously and selflessly many ordinary French men and women behaved”


Caroline Moorehead, author of Village of Secrets and A Train in Winter

Defying Vichy, newly published by The History Press and beautifully written by Robert Pike, is the first book I believe, to have been written in English charting the history and the stories of the Occupation and Resistance in the Dordogne. Stories that may well be widely known in that beautiful corner of South West France but now can be enjoyed by a wider audience. And deservedly so, as this is an area of France that the Allies did not reach. This is an area of France that was liberated by the Resistance formed in that region.


Robert Pike, who is no stranger to this part of France, has carried out an incredible amount of research to put this book together. Tracking down former members of the Resistance, now in their 9O's, going through endless files in the official departmental archives and spending invaluable time with local historians and authors on the subject including Patrice Rolli and Jean-Paul Bedoin, President of the ANACR in the Dordogne. 


Every page of Defying Vichy contains an incredible amount of detail on the many stories of ordinary people - men and women, young and old who chose to fight against the German occupation. In doing so, many gave the ultimate sacrifice to liberate France. There were rivalries between certain groups and traitors in their midst but the greater story is here for all to read and to understand, the people of France played their role, a pivotal role, in ridding their country of the invader.


The book has 32O pages and many excellent photos, some shared by Patrice Rolli, myself, Guy Penaud and Raphaël "Ralph" Finkler who Robert first met back in 1997. The book is currently available in hardback version with an RRP of £2O. Plan is afoot for it to be published in French and subsequent books on this subject, that so many of us hold dear to our hearts, are planned for the future by Robert.