Cover Image: SOE In France 1941-1945

SOE In France 1941-1945

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Member Reviews

Princess Fuzzypants here:  This turned out to be quite different than I had expected.  Much of it is written like bullet points or a laundry list.  It makes for short and succinct paragraphs which allow the author to handle an extensive cast of characters over the years.  Perhaps, it was the easiest way to get that much information out but what it lacks is colour and context.  It does, on occasion, go more deeply into the individual or the group and their activities.  But for the most part, it seemed dry as it ticked off the facts.

I confess my preference in history is learning about the people involved.  I like the vignettes and the tales.  I like feeling the passion that those in the story must have experienced.  This does give a good accounting but it is, alas, an accounting.  It only comes alive for me in bits and pieces.  For the reader who enjoys the plain unadulterated facts, this will be satisfying but if you are looking for more heart, it will leave you wanting.  And it is such a shame for in the stories is all the bravery and strength as well as pettiness and ineptitude that you will find anytime you examine a group of people.  They deserved more.  Three purrs and one paw up.
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This book is very technical account of SOE operations in France during WWll. Although it is framed in chronological order, there was much back and forth references to individuals and the reader quickly loses the plot as the details become more complex. There is no doubt that there were many acts of bravery during the active resistance towards the German occupation but also the bravery of the agents who volunteered to be inserted into France, some on more than one occasion. 
The book also highlights the internal friction that developed between the different resistance factions, generally based on political beliefs, that prevented coherent actions to be established against the Germans. In addition, many of the French groups had an inherent distrust of the British and their direction of the Resistance from London. These groups had the perverse approach that the demanded that the British supply them with arms, ammunition and explosives then would not carry out the operational tasks set by London. They were then surprised when future munitions drops were withheld. Those groups organised and commanded by British trained agents were generally very successful if they survived, however many were betrayed by Frenchmen that valued reward before patriotism.
Not an easy book to read but interesting information if you are patient to cross refer as you read.
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This was a great book on SOE’s operations in France. Deeply researched and detailed, this work could be used by many budding scholars for years to come.
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