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Rock of Contention: Free French and Americans at War in New Caledonia, 1940-1945

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Rock of Contention

Free French and Americans at War in New Caledonia, 1940-1945

Kim Munholland

264 pages, 8 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-682-5 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2005)

ISBN  978-1-84545-300-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (July 2007)

eISBN 978-1-78238-858-6 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This book is an excellent review of the history of New Caledonia during the war years and explains much about the current relationship between the United States and France.”  · Books-online

"The rigorous archival depth and scholarship of the book allows every twist and turn to be detailed down to the hour, and peopled by an array of characters whose self-belief and delusions would make a fictional tale appear absurdly unrealistic...the book provides ingredients essential for understanding the international history of the following forty years, at least."  · American Historical Review

“This book makes distinct contributions to the existing literature on French-American relations ... but it is also interesting in its own right.”  · Irwin Wall, University of California/Irvine


“This is a sharply drawn, deftly written, straight-laced exposure of the perceptions and biases that generated a lasting international ill will, with repercussions up to the present day.”  · Wisconsin Bookwatch

"This book deserves wider attention that just among historians of the South Pacific or of the American military... Each colony shows a microcosm of Franco-French disputes, of uncongenial relations between the Allies and of the inevitable confrontation between the French and the “natives” whose lives, in different ways around the imperial globe, changed because of the war. Munholland’s excellent study explores these issues, and also provides essential background to the post-war future of the French forced retreat from empire and its difficult engagement with its American ally."  · H-Net France

“…a clear, authoritative narrative…book that is at once wide-ranging and detailed - and welcome.”  · International History Review


What went wrong in Free French relations with Americans during World War Two? Two peoples, presumably sharing a common cause in a war to defeat the axis powers, often found themselves locked in bitter disputes that exposed fundamental differences in outlook and intentions, creating a profound misunderstanding or mésentente that was a major source of Franco-American conflict during the war and has persisted since then. The site for this dispute was the South Pacific colony of New Caledonia. By documenting carefully French policy toward the American presence in New Caledonia during the war, the author demonstrates the existence of a deep-seated suspicion, fear, even paranoia about the Americans that colored almost every phase of Free French policy. Revising traditional views, the author lays bare the roots of the antagonism, which stem from perceptions and biases.

Kim Munholland (1934-2020) received his Ph. D. from Princeton University and was a member of the history faculty at the University of Minnesota where he has taught Modern European and French History.

Subject: History: World War IIColonial History
Area: FranceAsia-Pacific


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