Scholars of Mayhem: My Father’s Secret War in Nazi-Occupied France

Daniel C. Guiet and Timothy K. Smith. Penguin Press, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2520-6
In this thrilling true story, Guiet and journalist Smith take readers on a mission with an elite unit of the Special Operations Executive, Winston Churchill’s secret espionage organization. Jean Claude Guiet (the coauthor’s father), a dual citizen of France and the U.S. who was raised in the former and spoke near-accentless French, was recruited as the wireless expert for the team at age 20. His teammates were Violette Szabo, courier and messenger; Bob Maloubier, weapons and training specialist; and Phillipe Liewer, their leader. Guiet and Smith piece together letters, coded reports, and interview transcripts to reconstruct the activities of the team, which parachuted into occupied France near Limoges the day after D-Day to irritate, frustrate, and wreak havoc on a Nazi Panzer tank division, preventing it from progressing to Normandy Beach, and to coordinate air drops of weapons to the local resisters. As the authors write, “They were not expected to survive,” but the operation, code-named Salesmen II, was highly successful, stopping the Panzer tanks’ progress and eventually retaking villages from the Nazi occupiers. The authors combine strong research and well-paced, suspenseful writing. This nail-biting real-life spy tale will enthrall readers. (June)
Reviewed on : 07/22/2019
Release date: 06/04/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-9848-8869-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-9848-8871-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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