Publication Date: 09/02/2023 ISBN: 9781915590169 Category:

Madame Fourcade’s Secret War

Lynne Olson

Publisher: Scribe Publications
Publication Date: 09/02/2023 ISBN: 9781915590169 Category:
Paperback / Softback





The little-known true story of the woman who headed the largest spy network in Vichy France during World War II.

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 Alliance, a vast Resistance organisation – the only woman to hold such a role. No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence as Alliance – and as a result, the Gestapo pursued its members relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of its three thousand agents, including Fourcade’s own lover and many of her key spies. 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.

Publisher Review

'In this deeply researched book, American journalist Lynne Olson tells the story of this extraordinary and overlooked heroine ... a splendid biography.' -- Kathryn Hughes * The Mail on Sunday * '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 want in our foxhole.' * The New York Times Book Review * 'If Lynne Olson had set out to write a novel, she could not have come up with a more fascinating character than Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, the glamorous young woman who led the largest French spy network in World War II. This is a case where fact is far more riveting than fiction. Olson chronicles Fourcade's extraordinary story with her customary eye for every revealing detail and every breathtakingly dangerous twist.' -- Andrew Nagorski, author of Hitlerland, The Nazi Hunters, and The Year Germany Lost the War 'Within the pages of this thrilling narrative, Fourcade's spirit shines through ... Madame Fourcade's Secret War stands out from a crowded field.' * All About History * 'Brilliantly researched and stylishly written.' * Military History Monthly * 'This is a stirring story of heroism, charisma, and determination.' * History Revealed * '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 honours Fourcade's fight for freedom and her 'refusal to be silenced' with a gripping narrative that will thrill WWII history buffs.' STARRED REVIEW * Publishers Weekly * '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 * '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 in France 'In Madame Fourcade's Secret War, Lynne Olson is at the top of her game, giving us the renowned beauty and elite French socialite, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, who surprised everyone - including herself, perhaps - by becoming one of the most consequential players in the high-stakes spy game in Nazi-occupied France. Fourcade's nerve, resolve, and extraordinary inner resources shine and inspire here. A fascinating portrait of uncommon audacity.' -- Paula McLain, author of Love and Ruin and The Paris Wife 'In the real-life character of Madame Fourcade, Lynne Olson has found a heroine who seems to come tailor-made for the movie screen - she is beautiful, rich, effortlessly elegant, and an absolutely indomitable spy for the ages. Olson's clear, unadorned writing style and her meticulous marshaling of facts will keep you on the edge of your seat as Fourcade endures psychological and physical hardship in service of her singular goal - to keep France free of fascism. For all of us who have wondered what we would do in a time of crisis, Olson holds up Madame Fourcade and her relentless fight for the French Resistance as a model of how to fight back when faced with unthinkable evil. Fascinating and timely.' -- Elizabeth Letts, author of The Perfect Horse 'Incredibly absorbing and long-overdue ... This masterfully told true story reads like fiction and will appeal to readers who devour WWII thrillers a la Kristen Hannah's The Nightingale (2015).' -- Margaret Flanagan * Booklist * '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 20th-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 * 'Madame Fourcade's war should never have been a secret, and it takes a historical sleuth like Lynne Olson to bring it, at last, into glorious light. I read this extraordinary book with wonder and admiration, seeing a movie on every page that was both true to life and somehow bigger than life. The canvas is vast, the characters vibrant, the history we thought we knew suddenly as fresh as tomorrow.' -- Jay Cocks, screenwriter of The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York, and Silence '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.' STARRED REVIEW * Library Journal * '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 * 'A comprehensive, often exciting narrative ... [Olson's] solid descriptive passages help re-create the tension and anxiety Fourcade and her friends felt as they risked everything to save France ... The author brings into the spotlight a woman whose courage and endurance helped shape history yet whose full story had not yet been told. "For several decades following the war," writes the author, "histories of the French resistance, which were written almost exclusively by men, largely ignored the contributions of women." Olson rectifies that omission. An engaging, informative addition to World War II history.' * Kirkus Reviews * 'Marie-Madeleine Fourcade has largely slipped from popular memory, but during World War II she led the largest spy network in Vichy France ... Olson's very readable account charts Fourcade's progress from socialite to leader of a vast resistance movement, and reflects on the irreparable divisions caused by the war.' -- Jeff Popple * Canberra Weekly * 'This is very well written, it creates almost a fast-paced novel as her exploits get more and more strained ... A splendid book indeed, which heartily proves that women are more than capable of maintaining a strong position in a male-dominated world and making it work extremely well at the same time.' -- Reg Seward * NB Magazine * 'Olson has written a lively and compelling account of a woman who deserves to be remembered and honoured.' * Military Book History * Praise for Citizens of London: 'An excellent and revealing chronicle.' * Booklist * Praise for Last Hope Island: '[A] pointed volume ... [Olson] tells a great story and has a fine eye for character.' * The Boston Globe * Praise for Last Hope Island: 'Exhilarating and epic.' * The Mail on Sunday *

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