SOE in France

FOOT, M.R.D. SOE in France.

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FOOT, M.R.D. SOE in France. London, HMSO, 1966 [but 1968].

Foolscap 8vo. Original cloth with dust-wrappers (not price-clipped); pp. xxvii, [2], 550, tables, charts and plates after photographs, four folding maps in rear pocket; near-fine.
First edition, second impressions with amendments and corrctions of the best book on the subject. 'The historian MRD Foot … was the outstanding British authority on the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and western European resistance to Nazi occupation in the second world war. Throughout the conflict he had served in the army, and he put that experience to good use in his later career. He established his reputation with the publication of his official history The SOE in France (1966), writing as MRD rather than Michael Foot to avoid confusion with the Labour politician. The venture proved difficult, not only because of the fog of secrecy and myth enveloping the operations, but also because the reputations of French resistance groups and the exploits of SOE agents were placed under scrutiny. While strongly supportive of resistance in principle, and of SOE's role in aiding and co-ordinating it, Foot concluded that the scale of French resistance had been exaggerated, as had its military contribution to the success of Overlord, the allied invasion of Europe in 1944, and the ending of German occupation (obituary in The Guardian).