Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring wholesale Young Woman Who Led lowest France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler online sale

Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring wholesale Young Woman Who Led lowest France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler online sale

Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring wholesale Young Woman Who Led lowest France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler online sale
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The little-known true story of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, the woman who headed the largest spy network in occupied France during World War II, from the bestselling author of Citizens of London and Last Hope Island

“Brava to Lynne Olson for a biography that should challenge any outdated assumptions about who deserves to be called a hero.”—The Washington Post

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE WASHINGTON POST 

In 1941 a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast intelligence organization—the only woman to serve as a chef de résistance during the war. Strong-willed, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Her group’s name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah’s Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. The name Marie-Madeleine chose for herself was Hedgehog: a tough little animal, unthreatening in appearance, that, as a colleague of hers put it, “even a lion would hesitate to bite.”

No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence—including providing American and British military commanders with a 55-foot-long map of the beaches and roads on which the Allies would land on D-Day—as Alliance. The Gestapo pursued them relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of its three thousand agents, including Fourcade’s own lover and many of her key spies. Although Fourcade, the mother of two young children, moved her headquarters every few weeks, constantly changing her hair color, clothing, and identity, she was captured twice by the Nazis. Both times she managed to escape—once by slipping naked through the bars of her jail cell—and continued to hold her network together even as it repeatedly threatened to crumble around her.

Now, in this dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.

“Fast-paced and impressively researched . . . Olson writes with verve and a historian’s authority. . . . With this gripping tale, Lynne Olson pays [Marie-Madeleine Fourcade] what history has so far denied her. France, slow to confront the stain of Vichy, would do well to finally honor a fighter most of us would want in our foxhole.”—The New York Times Book Review

Review

“A hell of a yarn . . . Why the heck have we never heard of [Marie-Madeleine] Fourcade? The only woman to lead a major French resistance network. A woman who in later life was elected to the European Parliament. And who, upon her death in 1989 at the age of seventy-nine, became the first woman to be granted a funeral at Les Invalides, the complex in central Paris where Napoleon Bonaparte and other French military heroes are buried. Olson posits a few possible reasons for Fourcade’s relegation to the footnotes of history. The inescapable one, though, circles back to where we began: her gender.” The Washington Post

“Lynne Olson is a gifted author and her books about the Allies in World War II are carefully researched and compulsively readable. . . . Thankfully, a new generation of writers is expanding our knowledge of individuals whose roles in World War II deserve more attention.” The Christian Science Monitor

“In  Madame Fourcade’s Secret War, Lynne Olson tells one of the great stories of the French Resistance, a story of one woman’s courage amid great danger, a story of heroism, defiance, and, ultimately, victory.” —Alan Furst, author of A Hero of France

“Lynne Olson has added yet another brilliant chapter to her vital historical project: documenting the extraordinary efforts of individuals, such as spymaster Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, who helped liberate twentieth-century Europe from Nazi occupation. Much like Madame Fourcade herself, Olson goes to great lengths to unearth truth and preserve dignity for those who lived and died during Hitler’s reign of terror—and for that, both the author and her daring subject deserve high praise.”— Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright

“The organizational genius of Fourcade shines through tales of her cat-and-mouse game with the Gestapo, including multiple daring escapes from Nazi captivity. As well researched and engrossing as her previous books, showcasing her adroit ability to weave personal narratives, political intrigue, and wartime developments to tell a riveting story, Olson''s latest is highly recommended to readers interested in World War II, the history of espionage, women''s history, and European history.” Library Journal (starred review)

“A brilliant, cinematic biography of resistance leader Marie-Madeleine Fourcade . . . 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.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Incredibly absorbing and long-overdue . . . This masterfully told true story reads like fiction and will appeal to readers who devour WWII thrillers à la Kristen Hannah’s  The Nightingale.” Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

Lynne Olson is the New York Times bestselling author of Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War; Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939–1941; and Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour. Among her five other books is Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England. Lynne Olson lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Leaping into the Unknown

Her sister’s drawing room was already crowded when Marie-Madeleine Fourcade arrived. In one corner, Georges, her brother-in-law, was deep in discussion with a cluster of male guests. Spotting her sister in another corner, Marie-Madeleine crossed the room to join her.

Yvonne introduced her to several women, who, after acknowledging the newcomer, returned to their conversation about children, their latest travels, and their incessant problems with servants. At one point, between sips of tea, a small, birdlike woman named Yvonne de Gaulle held forth on the soothing virtues of the countryside and how important it was to have a house in the country where a busy man like her husband could find a quiet refuge.

Her attention wandering, Marie-Madeleine glanced around the room. She recognized several of the men—a number of them military officers like Georges, along with a scattering of diplomats, journalists, and business leaders. Ever since she’d returned to Paris, her sister and brother-in-law had included her in their circle of influential friends, many of whom frequented the lively late-afternoon salon that the couple had established at their apartment on rue Vaneau, not far from the French capital’s government ministries and embassies.

She caught the eye of Georges, who beckoned to her. As she joined the group around him, she was aware of the appreciative glances directed her way. Cool and elegant, with porcelain skin and high cheekbones, the twenty-six-year-old blonde was used to being the object of male scrutiny.

After introducing her to a couple of guests she had not yet met, Georges mentioned her passion for cars and fast driving and boasted about her success in a recent long-distance car rally. For a minute or two, she and the others debated the merits of various cars, including the speedy model she owned—a Citroën Traction Avant. But the conversation soon returned to the subject that had preoccupied the men from the moment they had arrived that afternoon: Nazi Germany’s shocking occupation of the demilitarized Rhineland just a few weeks before.

On March 7, 1936, German troops had marched into the Rhineland, a strip of western Germany straddling the Rhine River and bordering France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. After Germany’s defeat in World War I, the area had been declared a buffer zone, and a ban had been imposed on any installation there of German forces or fortifications. Adolf Hitler’s defiance of the ban was his most flagrant violation to date of the 1919 Versailles Treaty and his most dramatic challenge thus far to the Western allies Britain and France.

If either country had responded with force, Hitler’s troops, as he later acknowledged, would have retreated immediately. But neither the British nor French lifted a finger to stop the incursion—a failure that appalled those at Georges and Yvonne’s salon on that lovely April afternoon.

Several of the guests were army intelligence officers, who, for the last three years, had been providing information to the French government detailing Hitler’s mounting preparations for war. Indeed, in the past few months they had passed on advance intelligence of the Rhineland incursion itself. To all these warnings, government officials and the top military command had paid little heed.

The top brass were equally indifferent to increasingly urgent calls by some of their underlings for the modernization and reform of the French military. As one observer later put it, “The minds of the French generals had ground to a halt and were already thickly coated with rust.” In their preparations for a future war, members of the high command remained committed to the kind of defensive warfare that had eventually brought the Allies, at an extremely high cost, a victory in World War I. They paid little or no attention to the swift technological advances in the development of such offensive weapons as planes and tanks. They also went out of their way to block the advancement of younger, more vigorous officers who preached the need for a revolution in military tactics and strategy.

Two of the most prominent members of that younger group—Lieutenant Colonel Charles de Gaulle and Major Georges Loustaunau-Lacau—took center stage in the discussion on rue Vaneau, engaging in a debate that quickly escalated into a full-blown argument. It soon became obvious to Marie-Madeleine that the two officers viewed each other as rivals, which, considering how much they had in common, was perhaps not surprising.

They both were products of Saint-Cyr, France’s foremost military academy, and the elite École Supérieure de Guerre, the country’s graduate war college. Both had fought in World War I, been wounded, and received multiple citations for bravery. After the war, they had served at different times on the staff of Marshal Philippe Pétain, the hero of the Battle of Verdun, who had held several key postwar posts—commander in chief of the army, inspector general, and minister of war. The forty-five-year-old de Gaulle and the forty-two-year-old Loustaunau-Lacau were brilliant, ambitious, and egocentric, with a rebellious streak that had gotten them in considerable trouble at various times with Pétain and other military superiors. Each loved the spotlight, and neither wanted to share it with the other.

After Germany occupied the Rhineland, de Gaulle had submitted an article predicting its disastrous consequences to the influential journal Défense Nationale, which refused to publish it. Now, leaning against the apartment’s fireplace mantel, he criticized the high command’s tactical and strategic ineptness, blasting its reliance on prepared fortifications like the Maginot Line and arguing for creation of a fast-moving mechanized army working closely with and supported by aircraft. Loustaunau-Lacau interrupted, dismissing de Gaulle’s idea of a strike force as unworkable. As they argued, they seemed to agree on only one point: If the French military were not immediately reshaped, the army would collapse, and the country would be crushed by Germany in a war that was drawing ever closer.

Fascinated by the verbal fireworks between them, Fourcade had no idea of the profound impact that both men would soon have on her life.

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Top reviews from the United States

John D. CofieldTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Little Known Heroine Who Played An Enormous Role
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2019
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was born into a wealthy and prominent French family with an illustrious history and all the right social connections. For her first thirty years she led an unremarkable life treading the path expected of her: early marriage, children, and not much... See more
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was born into a wealthy and prominent French family with an illustrious history and all the right social connections. For her first thirty years she led an unremarkable life treading the path expected of her: early marriage, children, and not much else. But then history caught up with her. In 1940 Germany invaded France and much of Western Europe. With Marie-Madeleine''s connections she could have easily made her way to safety and spent the war living comfortably. She was made of sterner stuff. She became first the deputy and then the prime leader of the most successful French underground intelligence network, Alliance, and spent the war years in frequent peril of her life, providing vital information to the British, American, and Free French forces. Lynne Olson has written a series of excellent histories illuminating lesser known aspects of the World War II era, and Madame Fourcade''s Secret War is one of her best.

Marie-Madeleine''s sex, social position, and beauty were both assets and liabilities. Very few men outside of her intelligence network took her seriously or believed her to be capable of anything underhanded or devious. As a result she was often able to pull off diabolically cunning intelligence coups right under the noses of the German military. When she was captured and held prisoner she escaped in a series of hair-raising adventures that rival anything Ian Fleming or Frederick Forsyth ever wrote. Other women in her network had similar successes, including Jeannie Rousseau, whose apparent wide-eyed innocence led German officers to discuss secret military plans in her presence, and who was thus able to alert the British to the dangers of Hitler''s missile research at Peenemunde. Unfortunately, after the war the roles played by Marie-Madeleine, Jeannie Rousseau, and many other brave women were discounted by the male officers and historians who established the official record, and it was not until many years had passed that they began to receive the recognition they were due.

This was one of those books I could not put down. Marie-Madeleine managed to get herself into so many alarming scrapes and adventures that I had to keep reading to learn how she would finally turn disaster into triumph. I came away from the book with a renewed appreciation for the bravery and dedication of the many women and men of the French Resistance who fed vital information to the Allies during some of the darkest moments of World War II. And in future, if I am ever tempted to believe that the exploits of fictional spies are too sensational to believe, I''ll remember Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, and recognize that the truth is stranger yet.
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Serenity...
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
~~Bravery coupled with Leadership~~
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2019
This book is an absolute must-read for those interested in the art of espionage and for those interested in World War II history. I must admit that over the course of many, many years, I had forgotten some of these important places in Europe. . La patronne (the... See more
This book is an absolute must-read for those interested in the art of espionage and for those interested in World War II history. I must admit that over the course of many, many years, I had forgotten some of these important places in Europe. .

La patronne (the boss), Madame Fourcade, and the Alliance Network grew from a handful of agents to over 3000 at the end of World War II. An astounding fact to me, is that 20 percent of these agents were female. My thought after reading this extraordinary book, was that Madame Fourcade was indeed underestimated by the Germans because she was a female. A real error on their part.

To paraphrase Navarre, she had the memory of an elephant, the cleverness of a fox, the guile of a serpent, ...and the fierceness of a panther. Madame Fourcade epitomized a true leader in all aspects and those in her network had to accept a female as their leader. (I kept thinking back to my USN career while reading this book and remembering what a leader meant ...loyalty, ability to make decisions, the ability to train and develop subordinates, and competence. So, yes, she exemplified all of the qualities of being a leader to me.

The book is divided into three separate time frames: 1936 to 1942/1943 to 1944 and 1944 to 1945. Sixteen thousand resistance fighters were arrested during this war. In each of these time frames, the reader is able to witness the bravery and leadership skills of this woman. She was adept at eluding the Germans and starting in November of 1942, she evaded them by changing locations 8 different times. Truly astounding...

The agents recruited by the Alliance included Lysander pilots, military officers, radio operators, forgers, social workers, seamstress. observers and many more....a variety of society''s classes. And, each of these agents performed their duties in an exemplary matter. Madame Fourcade was not a politician and adamantly avoided these discussions, when possible. As for Madame Fourcade, close calls beyond belief and yet, she carried on...

I appreciated the fact that pictures were in the text of some operatives. And, the Zoom was in effect as an added feature so one could see their faces more clearly. Always nice to put a face with a name..

So what motivated Madame Fourcade to become an agent in the first place? Did she have a family she left behind? Interesting questions and they are answered in this book.

Most highly recommended.
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731k820Lh
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Intrigue, suspense
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2019
This book is riveting. Individuals from different backgrounds, some military and some not, largely without prior espionage training, came together in a French resistance network that played a large role in assuring Allied victory in the Second World War.... See more
This book is riveting.

Individuals from different backgrounds, some military and some not, largely without prior espionage training, came together in a French resistance network that played a large role in assuring Allied victory in the Second World War.

Among their achievements—obtaining and transmitting to the British secret plans for Germany’s V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket (which ultimately helped assure the success of the Normandy invasion).

Marie-Madeleine Fourcade and the agents of her Alliance network did this while being hunted by the Gestapo. And they did it despite infighting among the Allies.

Fourcade overcame the doubts of her male recruits that a woman could run the single most significant resistance network in France.

Lynne Olson makes the reader feel as close to the action as possible, without actually being in the same room with Fourcade and her agents.

The author weaves together the background, conduct, and emotions of the agents at the center of the story. The anxiety that constantly shadowed them is palpable.

With each twist in the tale, she will leave you wondering what will happen next.
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Errol Levine
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very tedious book!
Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2019
Although Madame Fourcade seems to have been an admirable character I found this book boring beyond belief. I read only non-fiction including biographies of obscure royal personages. It is exceedingly rare for me to abandon a book one-third of the way through as I did with... See more
Although Madame Fourcade seems to have been an admirable character I found this book boring beyond belief. I read only non-fiction including biographies of obscure royal personages. It is exceedingly rare for me to abandon a book one-third of the way through as I did with this book. Unlike other spy stories where there might be some amusing aspects e.g. Macintyre''s "A Spy Among Friends" or an element of suspense, this book is as dry as an old bone.

I am always leery too of stories about the French Resistance movement. If one is to believe General de Gaulle France during the war years was replete with thousands of resistance fighters. While there were some, the French by and large found collaboration with the Nazis to be a very comfortable way of life even prior to the occupation. The Nazi occupation removed those old-fashioned ideas and concepts of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and replaced them in France with a dictatorship that was far worse then was ever seen under the Bourbons and with which the French by and large seemed very comfortable. Social life in Paris went on with French high-society people partying with Nazi bosses like Otto Abetz.

The heroes of that time at least to the French included members of the Vichy government especially Marshal Petain who instituted anti-Jewish measures long before the Nazis even asked him to do so. It took decades for a French government to even acknowledge that the French during the war were highly complicit in the deportation of even children to die in Auschwitz. Madame Fourcade was clearly an exception to the general French complicity with the Nazi occupation. However, the author of this book has not done her any posthumous favors in writing her story.
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Mal Warwick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The truth about the French Resistance
Reviewed in the United States on April 10, 2019
She led the largest French Resistance network against the Nazis for nearly five years. Three thousand agents answered to her, and they delivered intelligence to the British that helped the Allies win the war. Yet she has been virtually forgotten for decades, her courage and... See more
She led the largest French Resistance network against the Nazis for nearly five years. Three thousand agents answered to her, and they delivered intelligence to the British that helped the Allies win the war. Yet she has been virtually forgotten for decades, her courage and resourcefulness ignored by Charles De Gaulle and the French Communist Party, the dominant political forces in France for decades. Because she wasn’t politically allied with either. And because she was a woman. Now a new biography belatedly restores her to the spotlight, and it reads like a thriller.

Her network helped the Allies win the war

Her name was Marie-Madeleine Fourcade. She began working in espionage in 1936 following Hitler’s march into the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland in violation of the Versailles Treaty. She was 26 years old. In 1941, following her boss’s capture by the Nazis, she became chef de resistance of Alliance, a network created to funnel intelligence to MI6. And, in the course of the next five years, Fourcade’s agents achieved three critical intelligence breakthroughs:

** A young woman named Jeannie Rousseau delivered detailed information about Hitler’s terrifying V-2 program that allowed Allied bombers to destroy its base at Peenemünde and set back the program for many months. She saved many thousands of lives in the process.

** An extensive network of Alliance spies working on France’s northern and western coasts played two equally important roles. First, they delivered detailed information about Germany’s U-Boat comings and goings that eventually helped the British prevent them from sinking more vital Allied shipping.

** And they supplied extremely detailed information about the fortifications and Nazi troop deployments in Normandy that helped the Allies successfully gain a foothold there in June 1944.The myth of the French Resistance

Most of what we’ve read about the French Resistance dwells on the maquis, saboteurs and guerrilla fighters who bedeviled the Nazis in the closing years of the war. They make good copy, and cameras love the action. And from the fictional accounts, which dominate our understanding of the era, we get the impression that both the maquis and lesser-known Resistance groups involved in intelligence-gathering were associated with one of three forces:

** Charles De Gaulle‘s Free French;

** the French Communist Party; or

** Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE).

The myth also holds that everyone involved in France’s Vichy government actively supported the Nazis. This falsehood, too, was promoted by De Gaulle and the Communists, who were eager to take full credit for the Resistance.

The reality is different.

The truth about the French Resistance

1. The maquis accomplished little

First, latter-day scholarship has established that sabotage and guerrilla operations had little if any effect on the outcome of the war. The maquis provided fodder for breathless press accounts and later books, films, and television shows. But they accomplished little other than to boost French morale. And Churchill’s SOE disbanded following the Allied victory.

2. DeGaulle and the Communists did not run the Resistance

Second, the Resistance was anything but united under De Gaulle and the Communists until the closing days of the war. Until then, hundreds of groups were scattered about the country, some working for De Gaulle or the Communists, others for De Gaulle’s rival, General Henri Giraud, still others completely on their own. In fact, these groups frequently fought one another, occasionally even with guns. And the biggest and most effective Resistance network of all was Alliance, commanded by Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, working directly with Britain’s MI6.

3. There were many anti-Nazi French in the Vichy Government

Third, a substantial number of the military, police, and officials working for Vichy were, in fact, anti-Nazi. “Vichy was far from being a monolithic regime. It was made up of competing factions, drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and with different objectives.” A number of the key operatives in Alliance emerged from Vichy. And when Fourcade was captured by French police in the “free” zone governed by Vichy, the officers helped her escape under the noses of the Gestapo.

One extraordinary young woman

In Madame Fourcade’s Secret War, Lynne Olson writes of the Resistance commander’s “decisiveness, single-mindedness, and legendary organizational skills.” And she quotes “Navarre,” the founder of Alliance, saying that Fourcade had “the memory of an elephant, the cleverness of a fox, the guile of a serpent, the perseverance or a mole, and the fierceness of a panther.” Clearly, Fourcade was all that. But she was also young, a woman, a mother of two young children, well-to-do, stylish as only the French can be, and by all accounts beautiful.

Again and again throughout the war, she was forced to prove herself in an environment in which extremely few women held leadership positions. Olson’s book abounds with examples of the sexism Fourcade repeatedly encountered. Yet every one of the men who were recruited to Alliance and fancied themselves leading the network quickly yielded to her lead. She was, in a word, extraordinary. For months on end, she successfully coordinated Alliance while on the run from the Gestapo and the French police.

One in five of her agents was captured by the Germans

There is no disputing the danger Fourcade encountered on a daily basis for nearly five years. “Of Fourcade’s three thousand agents, about six hundred had been imprisoned by the Germans during the war. So far [late in 1944], she knew of only about 150 who had survived that ghastly experience. Of the remaining 450, dozens were already known to be dead, among them some of her top lieutenants and agents.” And later evidence came to light that most of those 450 had, indeed, been executed by the Nazis or died of starvation or overwork in forced-labor camps.
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Colorado Jim
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An amazing account of unusual bravery
Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2019
This is Jim’s wife, Glenna, commenting on this incredible book.
I will gladly recommend this to any man or woman who likes the intrigue of war and strategy; just a warning - it’s very hard to put down!!
20 people found this helpful
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Dabo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Superb account of a French Resistance effort
Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2019
Lynne Olson does a wonderful job of presenting the remarkable account of a fearless, loyal, and determined woman who led arguably the most successful French Resistance organization against the Nazis. I became interested in accounts of French Resistance a few years ago and... See more
Lynne Olson does a wonderful job of presenting the remarkable account of a fearless, loyal, and determined woman who led arguably the most successful French Resistance organization against the Nazis. I became interested in accounts of French Resistance a few years ago and this is by far the most detailed and interesting I have read. The author does a masterful job of laying out the story in an understandable, chronological, and easy to follow work. Her depth of research is very evident as shown in her use of interviews, memoirs, and historical records. This book depicts the bravery, loyalty, and determination of a woman and her colleagues who routinely faced capture, torture, and death in order to help the Allies free France from brutal Nazis. The book is filled with amazing and explicit details of personalities, and operations of the Alliance, the organization led by Madame Fourcade. Details are provided from the birth of this organization through it''s life during and after WWII. I highly recommend this book as a masterpiece on French Resistance.
12 people found this helpful
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R. A Chinn
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A definitive account
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2019
I had no idea who Marie Madeline Fourcade was before picking up this book. I spotted it at Costco, and since spy thriller''s are one of my favorite genres, I picked it up to look at. It seemed interesting enough, so I bought the Kindle version and then tucked into it. Most... See more
I had no idea who Marie Madeline Fourcade was before picking up this book. I spotted it at Costco, and since spy thriller''s are one of my favorite genres, I picked it up to look at. It seemed interesting enough, so I bought the Kindle version and then tucked into it. Most of the books that I read are fiction, this one is not. Other authors have written historical fiction based on the work of the Resistance during WW2. Those stories are fascinating too, but this one tells the history of those tales.

The story is that of Marie Madeline Fourcade (MMF), a French woman born to privilege who goes on to lead one of the largest resistance networks in WW2. There''s a lot of detail, and many people to keep track of. It is satisfying to see MMF get the praise and recognition due her for what she did during the occupation of France. It is maddening to see how the men running the show did not recognize her deeds and accomplishments during their country''s years of need.

Even if she didn''t get the recognition she deserved during her lifetime, I''m gratified that in this retelling of her story and her exploits on behalf of all of France, that she gets the recognition that she so richly deserved.
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Top reviews from other countries

Fifty Sheds of Books
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Madame Fourcade
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 16, 2020
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was a remarkable woman, one of the great heroines of the Second World War. This book is a good introduction to her story, but it doesn’t quite capture the character of the woman or the detail of how her network functioned. True, there is a lot of...See more
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was a remarkable woman, one of the great heroines of the Second World War. This book is a good introduction to her story, but it doesn’t quite capture the character of the woman or the detail of how her network functioned. True, there is a lot of background information about Marie-Madeleine’s Alliance as the author plots her journey through France, trying to remain one step ahead of the Gestapo, but many of the chapters skirt over the surface, without entering the heart of the story. Ironically, one of the best chapters in the book is about another remarkable heroine, Jeannie Rousseau. Marie-Madeleine hardly features in this chapter, but it does detail one of the most important stories of the war. The author’s decision to portray conversations and Marie-Madeleine’s emotions I think was a mistake because they detract from the facts. Some of these conversations doubtless took place, while others read as though they were imagined. Trying to discern fact from possible fiction distracts from Marie-Madeleine’s story. Despite my misgivings, overall this book is well written so to award it less than four stars feels mean. That said, Marie-Madeleine was a five-star woman and if this review reflects my disappointment it’s because I believe she deserves a five-star biography.
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P. Taylor
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Uninspiring
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 4, 2020
Like a number of others, I found what should have been a fascinating and enlightening story of one woman''s amazing courage and resourcefulness, rendered tedious and uninspiring by the author. I feel guilty about giving a bad review to an account of such selfless bravery,...See more
Like a number of others, I found what should have been a fascinating and enlightening story of one woman''s amazing courage and resourcefulness, rendered tedious and uninspiring by the author. I feel guilty about giving a bad review to an account of such selfless bravery, but I had to force myself to read past the first few chapters, and it was only the hope that it might improve - it didn''t- that made me soldier on. I''ve read many accounts of true war time exploits, some poorly written, but none quite as unsatisfactory as this. Madame Fourcade and her army of agents deserved better.
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HJR
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Chilling and heartwarming story at the same time.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 2, 2019
This is a story about all those unsung heros who stood up against massively overwhelming German powers during WW II and helped to bring them down. Led by girl power her organisation was instrumental in supplying the most vital information about the Germans to the British....See more
This is a story about all those unsung heros who stood up against massively overwhelming German powers during WW II and helped to bring them down. Led by girl power her organisation was instrumental in supplying the most vital information about the Germans to the British. It is also proof that European politics is still dominated by male chauvinist pigs.
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Tony P
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Read about a real heroine.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 15, 2019
A real crime that The French have not made more of the guts of this incredible heroine. Almost unbelievable in the sheer dedication and grit she displayed throughout the war and her efforts undoubtedly led to a massive assist to the ultimate outcome in so many ways....See more
A real crime that The French have not made more of the guts of this incredible heroine. Almost unbelievable in the sheer dedication and grit she displayed throughout the war and her efforts undoubtedly led to a massive assist to the ultimate outcome in so many ways. Spellbinding!
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Nom de plume
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 30, 2019
Interesting content well presented it was one of those books that one wanted to read through as soon as possible to follow the activities of Alliance. Madame Fourcade was a very brave woman whose exploits need to be publicised.
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