1st Edition

The Extreme Right in France From Pétain to Le Pen

By James Shields Copyright 2007
    432 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    432 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    A comprehensive new historical study of the extreme right in France, from the Vichy regime to the present day.

    The Front National has for some years been France's third political party and the most significant extreme-right force in Europe; its leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, contested the second round of the 2002 presidential election with 5.5 million votes.

    This wide-ranging and authoritative book examines the resurgence of right-wing extremism in France from a historical perspective, tracing the political lineage of Le Pen and the FN through key figures and movements on the French extreme right since 1940. Part 1 devotes chapters to the Vichy regime, the aftermath of the Occupation, the Poujadist movement, the Algerian War, the ‘Nouvelle Droite’, and extreme-right ideology and activism in the 1960s and 1970s. Part 2 analyzes the electoral rise of the FN, its evolving programme and exploitation of salient issues, the geography and sociology of its electorate, its exercise of local power, and its impact on national political culture in contemporary France. The FN, it is argued, represents both the latest manifestation of a long tradition of right-wing radicalism and a complex new phenomenon within the changing social and political dynamics of France today.

    This is an essential book for all readers with an interest in French and European politics and modern history.

    Introduction  Part 1  1. The Vichy Regime: A Laboratory for the Extreme Right  2. The Vichy Legacy: The Extreme Right in Post-War France  3. The Poujadist Movement: A False Dawn for the Extreme Right  4. Algeria: Another War, Another ‘Fascism’  5. The Extreme Right in the 1960s: Ideology and Politics  6. Divergent Paths Towards the New: The Nouvelle Droite and Ordre Nouveau  Part 2  7. Embracing Democracy: The Front National 1972-81  8. Electoral Breakthrough and Consolidation: The Front National 1981-88  9. From Strength to Strength: The Front National 1988-95  10. Pushing the Bounds: The Front National 1995-2002  11. Looking Back and Forward: The Front National Since 2002


    J.G. Shields is Reader in French Studies at the University of Warwick. He is the first holder of the American Political Science Association's Stanley Hoffmann Award (2007) for his writing on French politics.

    '...Shields has without doubt produced an excellent all round reference text, which is extremely well researched. In terms of a history of the FN in English, it may now certainly lay claim to being one of the best if not the reference text on the subject.'
    Tim Peace, European University Institute

    '...a truly original, scholarly and valuable book on the subject which significantly enriches French Studies.'
    Roger Griffin, Oxford Brookes University, UK