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The Greatest Escape: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives from the Nazis (Hardback)
  • The Greatest Escape: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives from the Nazis (Hardback)
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The Greatest Escape: How One French Community Saved Thousands of Lives from the Nazis (Hardback)

(author)
£16.99
Hardback 370 Pages / Published: 11/07/2014
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A story resonant in our days, the age of refugees, and a grand narrative in its own right, all told with absorbing skill. Peter Grose's tale of the astounding rescue village of Chambon is a tale of the practical deliverance of the hunted from the Nazis. A book to cherish and recommend!' --Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's Ark THE GREATEST ESCAPE is a dramatic, yet virtually unknown, story of the Second World War. It remained secret for decades. It is the heroic tale of how the people in an area of rural France fooled the Nazis at the height of the German occupation, saving many thousands of lives. During World War II, the villagers around Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, on an isolated plateau in the upper reaches of the Loire, pulled off an astonishing feat. They saved the lives of 5,000 men, women and children (including 3,500 Jews) under the noses of the Nazi occupiers and the Vichy authorities. Their story features an extraordinary cast of characters. They include the unswerving pacifist pastor who was awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette, the highest order of that proud French military decoration; the glamorous female SOE agent with a wooden leg (which she called 'Cuthbert'), who armed and organised the Resistance on the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon; the 18-year-old Latvian Jewish typewriter repairman who forged 5,000 sets of fake papers, and whose only ambition was to be a doctor; the 15-year-old schoolgirl whose parents tried to keep ehr out of harm's way in Le Chambon, and who risked her life running suitcases stuffed with money for the Resistance; and the 17-year-old Boy Scout who ran 20 missions escorting Jews to safety in Switzerland before joining the Resistance. THE GREATEST ESCAPE is told using first-hand testimonies from many of the survivors of this remarkable period. The author, Peter Grose, has drawn on eyewitness accounts and face-to-face interviews with many of the participants in France, which is now his home.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
ISBN: 9781857886269
Number of pages: 370
Weight: 686 g
Dimensions: 233 x 160 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
A story resonant in our days, the age of refugees, and a grand narrative in its own right, all told with absorbing skill. Peter Grose's tale of the astounding rescue village of Chambon is a tale of the practical deliverance of the hunted from the Nazis. A book to cherish and recommend! -- Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's Ark
Incredibly moving... Ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the most extraordinary circumstances. A book full of love for the region. Grose underlines underlines the role played by the brilliant forger, Oscar Rosowsky. A reminder of the best that humans are capable of, but also an inspiration. * Times Literary Supplement *
Peter Grose's book stands out as a complete story about life on the Plateau during World War II. Peter uses only facts to tell us a true story. He is one of those rare raconteurs who can write a history book that reads like a novel. -- Nelly Trocme, eyewitness and daughter of Andre and Magda Trocme
A fine book and a captivating and heartening story. * Scotsman *
Grose has written ...ambitious book that covers, among other things, the history of French Protestantism and the policy of the Vichy government, It is, however, the individual stories that stand out. Some striking characters cross their pages. Albert Camus came to the plateau, hoping that the air would be good for his tuberculosis, and wrote the first draft of La Peste there. Virginia Hall, an American adventuress so hard-bitten that she would have made Ernest Hemingway look like Marcel Proust, was sent to contact the local Maquis. She received packets of tea with parachute drops of weapons and refused to accept that having a wooden leg and an atrocious accent might make her an unsuitable guerrilla leader. Above all, this book depicts the mosaic of little tragedies behind the collective tragedy of death and deportation. * Evening Standard *
Extraordinary. * Daily Mirror *
Fabulous. A page-turning account, told with the full cooperation of many of the survivors. Meticulous and dogged research. Compelling. -- Caroline Sanderson * The Bookseller, 'Ones to Watch' *
Well written in a pleasant style and easy to read... A fascinating and inspiring story. * The Association of Jewish Refugees Journal *
A compelling story of wartime bravery and the plight of refugees. * France *

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