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by Peter Grose
September 2014 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.
This true story should be heard, should be shouted from the rooftops, as not only is it completely gripping, fascinating and inspirational but there are also lessons to be learned. This is an account of the people from an isolated plateau in the middle of France during the Second World War. They say that truth is stranger than fiction, a novel normally has one or two heroes or heroines, this true story has hundreds of them. The villages and farming communities from this one area, helped to save thousands of lives, each individual act of good joining to create an incredibly heartening and united whole. The author is clearly inspired by the people he researched and spoke to; he eloquently tells their tale with no embellishment, no adornment, he doesn't try to fill gaps, he leaves questions and consequently this true story retains its grit, guts and backbone. A must read, for everyone; we should be celebrating this community, this spirit, this truly magnificent story. ~ Liz Robinson
In the upper reaches of the Loire lies an isolated plateau and the secluded village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Their whole village was honoured not just by the French state, but with the extremely rare distinction of Righteous Among Nations by the people of Israel.
How they earned this is one of the great modern stories of heroism and courage. Right through the War the community pulled off the astonishing feat of saving the lives of 5000 men, women and children whose very existence was deemed to be unpalatable to the Nazi occupiers and their Vichy stooges. Of those saved approximately 3500 were of Jewish descent. They achieved this through a long-running battle of nerves keeping their heads down and pulling together. Predominantly Huguenot, the villagers held their own folk memories of centuries of persecution, and with open arms welcomed anyone whose background was frowned on by National Socialism. All sorts of remarkable people came together, and they produced a miracle: pacifist pastor, and former employee of the Rockefellers, Andre Trocme who led the community to offer sanctuary to people who would otherwise have undoubtedly met their fate in the death camps. The 18 year old Oscar Rosowsky who, after his own daring escape across Europe, went on to become one of the most accomplished forgers of the war the impeccable documents he produced never betrayed the true identity of their beneficiaries. Pierre Piton, the 17-year-old Boy Scout who ran 20 mission smuggling Jews into Switzerland. Virginia Hall, the extraordinary SOE agent with a wooden leg who armed and trained the Resistance on the Plateau. Pierre Fayol, the Jewish leader of the Resistance on the Plateau, who eventually helped to drive out the occupying Nazis at the point of a gun. The peaceful Quakers who rescued hundreds and possibly thousands, of children. Told with the full cooperation of many of the survivors, this is the story of WWII s Greatest Escape Resistance on the Plateau, who eventually helped to drive out the occupying Nazis at the point of a gun. The peaceful Quakers who rescued hundreds and possibly thousands, of children. Told with the full cooperation of many of the survivors, this is the story of the Second World War's Greatest Escape.
'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 no sentimental yarn of deliverance of all those the Nazi regime had in their sights, but a tale of the practical deliverance of the hunted. A book to cherish and recommend'!
Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's Ark
'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''
Publication date: 11/07/2014
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
|Publication date:||11th July 2014|
|Publisher:||Nicholas Brealey Publishing|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Books of the Month, History,|
|Categories:||Second World War, European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|
Peter Grose is a former publisher at Secker & Warburg, a former literary agent at Curtis Brown, and was until recently the chairman of ACP (UK). He is the author of two highly acclaimed books on WW2. Author photo © Roslyn Grose Below is a Q&A with this author. Q. If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to be? A. At risk of sounding like myself aged eight, I’d happily be a pilot. I love flying. Q. Which books do you read for pleasure? A. My all time ...More About Peter Grose