Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler

Lynne Olson. Random, $30 (464p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9476-6
Historian and journalist Olson (Last Hope Island) vivifies the history of the French Resistance during WWII with a brilliant, cinematic biography of resistance leader Marie-Madeleine Fourcade. As Olson recounts, Fourcade was 31 in 1941, a mother of two by her long-estranged husband, wealthy, beautiful, and temperamentally born to lead. She was recruited to the Resistance by Georges Loustaunau-Lacau, who founded the Alliance intelligence network in 1940 and passed leadership to Fourcade in 1941. She organized, recruited, trained, raised funds (principally from England’s MI6), hid, changed identities as often as she dyed her hair, and suffered arrest and torture by Nazis. She loved fellow agent Léon Faye and bore his son in the middle of WWII, and recorded her experiences, including bonds with fellow spies, in her diary: “The connection formed by a threat to one’s country is the strongest connection of all.” Olson’s weaving of Fourcade’s diary artfully and liberally into her own writing and her heart-stopping descriptions of Paris, escapes, and internecine warring create a narrative that’s as dramatic as a novel or a film. Olson honors Fourcade’s fight for freedom and her “refusal to be silenced” with a gripping narrative that will thrill WWII history buffs. Illus. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/13/2019
Release date: 05/07/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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