Cover image for An uncertain hour : the French, the Germans, the Jews, the Barbie trial, and the city of Lyon, 1940-1945
An uncertain hour : the French, the Germans, the Jews, the Barbie trial, and the city of Lyon, 1940-1945
Morgan, Ted, 1932-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow, [1990]

Physical Description:
416 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Maps on lining papers.

Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
D802.F82 L9454 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

"It is one of the achievements of our time," observes Morgan early on in this book, "to have proclaimed the crime against humanity." It is not at first clear whether he is speaking ironically or with serious intent---or both. His ambiguity is entirely in keeping with the subject of this book, which deals in essence with the problems, at once existential and moral, that the 1987 trial of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie posed to the French people. The French-born Morgan (author of FDR: A Biography [BKL O 15 85] and Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs [BKL O 1 88]) brings the perspective of a native son to his work, writing with feeling and insight on his family's wartime experiences, the French Resistance, the persecution of the French Jews, and Barbie's activities in the city where he earned the sobriquet the Butcher of Lyon. In exploring the sometimes ambivalent relationship that existed between the French and the forces of the German occupation (which Barbie came to personify), Morgan demonstrates that one of the cruelest legacies of the war is the not wholly unjustified sense of guilt and shame over this ambivalence that afflicts the French national conscience to this very day. Notes; index. --Steve Weingartner

Publisher's Weekly Review

Two themes dominate this wide-ranging look at the 1940 German invasion and subsequent occupation of France: that nation's vulnerability, and the deportation of French Jews to Nazi concentration camps. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Morgan also explores the attempts of the Vichy government to work out a compromise with the German authorities; recounts the destruction of the maquis stronghold at Vercor; and describes the activities of Klaus Barbie during and after the war. Chief SS officer in Lyon, France, he was extradited from Bolivia in 1983, tried in Lyon in '87 for crimes against humanity and is presently serving a 20-year sentence in France. Morgan's account of Barbie's role in the deportation program is detailed, and shows how the Germans, in their attempt to eradicate Jewry, adopted a corporate model complete with production goals, a system by which human tragedy was converted to logistical tasks. The book is based on depositions and documents collected for the Barbie trial. Morgan (ne Sanche de Gramont), who was living in France in 1940, includes material on the fate of his relatives during the Occupation. Illustrated. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This latest book on Klaus Barbie, the Nazi SS chief in wartime Lyon, is by the French-American journalist who covered Barbie's 1987 trial for the New York Times Magazine . Morgan provides a sweeping chronicle of France's defeat in 1940, the Vichy regime, the Resistance, the treatment of Jews in wartime France, and Barbie's own behavior in Lyon. Morgan had access to the secret documents prepared for the Barbie trial. But he prefers to take a general approach rather than to carefully analyze Barbie's wartime activities. Better coverage of Barbie and the controversies surrounding his trial can be found in Erna Paris's Unhealed Wounds: France and the Klaus Barbie Affair ( LJ 7/86). Morgan's account is filled with anecdotes, some of them from his own family. They make the book readable for general audiences, who followed the trial both in and out of France.-- Frank L. Wilson, Purdue Univ., W. Lafayette, Ind. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.