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Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler
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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“Brava to Lynne Olson for a biography that should challenge any outdated assumptions about who deserves to be called a hero.”—The Washington Post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
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Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/05/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780812994773
ASIN:
B07H1YWLQR
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APA Citation (style guide)

Lynne Olson. (2019). Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Lynne Olson. 2019. Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler. Random House Publishing Group.

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Lynne Olson, Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler. Random House Publishing Group, 2019.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Lynne Olson. Madame Fourcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler. Random House Publishing Group, 2019. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • role: Author
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      • bioText: 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.
      • name: Lynne Olson
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title
Madame Fourcade's Secret War
fullDescription
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
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
      • content: "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."
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2019

        Expanding her earlier works on World War II history, Olson (Last Hope Island) here highlights the wartime efforts of Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, who led one of the largest and most effective spy networks for the French Resistance. The book begins in 1936 and follows Fourcade through the war and beyond, when she worked to have the agents' sacrifices recognized by the French government to ensure they--or their family members--received benefits for their service. Though not covered with the same depth as Fourcade's activities, the experiences of several key members in her Resistance cell are also chronicled, fleshing out the larger scope of this group. The organizational genius of Fourcade shines through tales of her cat-and-mouse game with the Gestapo, including multiple daring escapes from Nazi captivity. VERDICT 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.--Crystal Goldman, Univ. of California, San Diego Lib.

        Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from March 4, 2019
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2019
        How one Frenchwoman's spy network helped win the war against the Nazis.Marie-Madeleine Fourcade (1909-1989) was raised in a well-to-do French family, but she was extremely independent for her time and refused to comply with the unstated rules of proper feminine behavior. "All her life," writes Olson (Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War, 2017, etc.), "she rebelled against the norms of France's deeply conservative, patriarchal society." When she was approached to work with an espionage group to help the Allies before the onset of World War II, she accepted the position with little hesitation. Following this life-changing decision, she became the eventual leader of the group known as "Alliance," a vast network of spies and radio operators who worked all over France. In a comprehensive, often exciting narrative, the author chronicles the actions of Fourcade and Alliance from 1936 to 1945. Her use of quotes and solid descriptive passages help re-create the tension and anxiety Fourcade and her friends felt as they risked everything to save France. Olson also effectively integrates a thorough history of the role of the Vichy government during this time as well as details on how MI6 and the Allies used the information Alliance collected to change the course of the war. She shares specifics on many of the agents under Fourcade's control, their daring exploits and escapes, and what happened to those captured by the Germans. With the same attention to detail, Olson writes about Fourcade's secret lover and her children. Although the text is overlong, 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.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from March 15, 2019
        Olson, who in Last Hope Island and Citizens of London (2017) mined lesser-known world-war history to great effect, has penned the incredibly absorbing and long-overdue chronicle of the exploits and accomplishments of French Resistance hero Mme Marie Madeleine Fourcarde, code-named Hedgehog. A seemingly unlikely freedom fighter, Mme Fourcarde, a glamorous, well-heeled young mother, used her image to her advantage as she joined and eventually directed a group known as Alliance (dubbed Noah's Ark by frustrated Nazi agents), one of the most successful intelligence gathering units operating in France. Organizing a cadre of spies that numbered in the thousands, she successfully befuddled the Gestapo by constantly switching headquarters, strategically restructuring her network, and cleverly changing her own appearance. Captured twice, she managed daring escapes each time and continued to provide the Allies with invaluable information, including critical D-Day logistics. After the war, she worked tirelessly on behalf of both her fallen and her surviving wartime colleagues. This masterfully told true story reads like fiction and will appeal to readers who devour WWII thrillers � la Kristen Hannah's The Nightingale (2015).(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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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....
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Madame Fourcades Secret War The Daring Young Woman Who Led Frances Largest Spy Network Against Hitler
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