In 1941, a 31-year-old Frenchwoman born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamor became leader of a vast Resistance intelligence organization, Alliance — 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 made for the job.
No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence as Alliance, such as 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. The Gestapo pursued Fourcade and Alliance relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of her 3,000 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 escaped, 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.
In a 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 riveting story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.
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. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C. Dana Barrett is host of The Dana Barrett Show on Talk Radio 640 WGST.
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