Cruel Crossing: Escaping Hitler Across the Pyrenees (Paperback)Edward Stourton (author)
The mountain paths are as treacherous as they are steep – the more so in the dark and in winter. Even for the fit the journey is a formidable challenge. Hundreds of those who climbed through the Pyrenees during the Second World War were malnourished and exhausted after weeks on the run hiding in barns and attics. Many never even reached the Spanish border.
Today their bravery and endurance is commemorated each July by a trek along the Chemin de la Liberté – the toughest and most dangerous of wartime routes. From his fellow pilgrims Edward Stourton uncovers stories of midnight scrambles across rooftops and drops from speeding trains; burning Lancasters, doomed love affairs, horrific murder and astonishing heroism.
The lives of the men, women and children who were drawn by the war to the Pyrenees often read as breathtakingly exciting adventure, but they were led against a background of intense fear, mounting persecution and appalling risk. Drawing on interviews with the few remaining survivors and the families of those who were there, Edward Stourton’s vivid history of this little-known aspect of the Second World War is shocking, dramatic and intensely moving.
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: 196 x 126 x 34 mm
This is a very shocking book. It recaptures the adventure and the horror as it brilliantly conjures up the voices of the past. - Jason Goodwin, Country Life
Charming but astute, Stourton captures not only the extraordinary courage of the escapers and the passeurs, or guides, who helped them, but the sense of danger and excitement as they evaded their pursuers. - Adrian Brewer, The Tablet
A moving retelling of some of the war's most heroic episodes - Nigel Jones, Sunday Telegraph
Stourton's richly rewarding research into the wartime journeys across the Pyrenees reminds us of so many dramatic stories of courage, tragedy, endurance and survival. - Iain Finlayson, Saga Magazine
Stourton writes evocatively and with sensitivity... an engaging collection of tales. - Viv Watts, Daily Express
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