In the summer of 1940 the French army was one of the largest and best in the world, confident of victory. In the space of a few nightmarish weeks that all changed as the French and their British allies were crushed and eight million people fled their homes. Richard Vinen's new book describes the consequences of that defeat. It describes the fate of a French prisoner of war who was punished because he wrote a love letter to a German woman, and the fate of a French woman who gave birth to a German-fathered child as the Americans landed in Normandy. It describes the 'false policemen' who proliferated in occupied Paris as desperate men on the run seeking to feed themselves by blackmailing those who were even more vulnerable than themselves. It asks why some gentile French people chose to risk imprisonment by wearing yellow stars. It recounts the fate of a couple of estranged middle-aged Jews, who found themselves on the same train to Auschwitz. 'The Unfree French' is extremely moving and a remarkable addition to the literature of the Second World War.