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Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris Paperback – August 2, 2016
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New York Times Bestseller
"Rich in atmosphere and noirish effects, Kershaw’s story centers on the harrowing experience of American-born doctor Sumner Jackson and his family, who undertook dangerous work for the French Resistance." —Boston Globe
"From the opening pages, when Kershaw...drops us into the invasion of Paris, we know that we are in good hands. This is classic narrative nonfiction, constructed and written like a thriller." —Chicago Tribune
"It's the least surprising thing in the world to discover that historian Alex Kershaw's latest book, Avenue of Spies, has already been optioned for development with Sony Pictures TV. Its circumstances — an American family in Paris aiding the French resistance from an apartment only a few doors down from the Paris headquarters of the SS — are too cinematic to ignore." —NPR
"A true story that reads like a thriller." —New York Post
"Avenue of Spies provides a lens into the life of a family’s extraordinary espionage efforts...Gripping...and inspiring. This is a powerful book to read anytime, but especially as we mark the 75th anniversary of the Nazi occupation of France." —Missourian
"Brilliantly captures the deadly cat-and-mouse game between Charles de Gaulle's underground and the Nazis and Vichy fascists...Kershaw's sobering look at a family's heroism in one of the history's darkest hours vividly shows what war costs in human terms." —Publishers Weekly
"Kershaw portrays the suspense and terror of this time in the plight of one well-intentioned American-French family caught up in the horror. A tenderly engaging saga of solid research and emotional connection." —Kirkus Reviews
"An intense, moving account that also serves to vividly describe the life of ordinary Parisians under the occupation." —Booklist [starred]
"Written with an engaging and expressive writing style, Kershaw's stirring tale of good and evil in the City of Light will have wide appeal." —Library Journal
"[A] tense and compelling narrative." —BookPage
"With a master storyteller's gift for character, pacing, and heart-stopping detail, Alex Kershaw transports us to wartime Paris, where one American family risked their lives to join the Resistance and defy Hitler. Avenue of Spies is a haunting, harrowing tale that reads like an elegant thriller, with the added benefit that every word is true. I was gripped by the first page to the last." —Karen Abbott, bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy
"Avenue of Spies is the best kind of spy story—a true one. Alex Kershaw has written a heart-rending thriller of espionage set in the darkest shadow of the Holocaust. A powerful story of quiet heroism." —Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of American Prometheus and bestselling author of The Good Spy
"Alex Kershaw’s Avenue of Spies is a good book with a good story, but what I like especially about it is that it's an 'Americans abroad' story—Ex-pat Nation is loaded with brave, idealistic people and the Jackson family numbered high among them." —Alan Furst, author of Midnight in Europe
"Avenue of Spies is an unforgettable testament to the power of personal courage and conviction in the face of evil. Sumner Jackson and his family were caught in a vortex of fear and hatred that was as close as a neighbor’s door on Avenue Foch in Paris. They risked everything in the darkest hours of Nazi terror, determined to fight for human dignity and freedom. This is a story of resistance and bravery that is profoundly uplifting." —David E. Hoffman, author of The Billion Dollar Spy and The Dead Hand
"A spellbinding tale of triumph and tragedy. Intimate and terrifying, Avenue of Spies is impossible to put down. This is Alex Kershaw at his best." —Annie Jacobsen, bestselling author of Operation Paperclip
"Avenue of Spies delivers a crisp, pulse-pounding narrative. Kershaw recreates the drama and suspense of war-torn occupied Paris. A taut thriller, the book is centered on an intrepid American family and is filled with a cast of unforgettable characters. Avenue of Spies is like sipping a fine wine: sublime!" —Patrick K. O'Donnell, bestselling author of First SEALs: the Untold Story of the Forging of America's Most Elite Unit
"Kershaw marries sterling research with first-rate storytelling to put readers on the occupied streets of Paris, looking back over our shoulders in fear. Avenue of Spies is a triumph, an outstanding addition to World War II history." —Gregory A. Freeman, author of The Forgotten 500 and The Last Mission of the Wham Bam Boys
“Kershaw is a master storyteller, and Avenue of Spies, like his previous books, reads like a thriller. From the opening scene…until the final desperate struggle that dominates the narrative’s conclusion, Kershaw has crafted a gripping, taut story that will keep readers turning pages long after they should have turned out the light.” —James Scott, Charleston Post and Courier
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
ALEX KERSHAW is the New York Times bestselling author of several books on World War II, including The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter. He lives in Willamstown, Massachusetts.
Top customer reviews
Avenue of Spies takes the reader into a time tunnel of courage that shakes off fear and steps into heroes, while Nazi bullies betray not only their leader, Hitler but become the worst kind of cowards by torturing and killing men, women and children so they can conquer a city for their own narcissistic pleasures.
Each detail of the temporary siege is researched by Alex Kershaw with integrity and personal interviews. As the story of the siege unfolds the reader becomes closely acquainted with not only the many tormentors of cruelty but the many of courage of the French Resistance and how they gave there"all" even through torture to protect those in their care.
From beginning to end, the story holds the reader's thoughtful attention with the smallest of details to what the people ate, decorated their rooms, to the terror in their bravery even in the camps of cruelty.
If one wants to experience the reality of history one needs only to read Alex Kershaw.
To me, personally, it seemed like a guide book on how -Americans- should and could conduct one's self with pride that we had done all we could to defeat the enemy that might occupy us.
Alex Kershaw's writing style is spectacularly simple but gives the reader an acute understanding of what is happening which is rare when I read history, and is a sure sign of a good writer-I have read quite a few books about WWII this year, and this book by far is my favorite-but it's not even the history that is riveting in the pages of this book-it's the story of heroes. In this tale, Kershaw recreates the German Occupation in the City Of Lights. His subject is an American, Dr. Sumner Jackson, who lived on the posh Avenue Foch with his wife, Toquette, and their boy, Phillip. Dr. Sumner was the head doctor at the American Hospital in Paris and if that wasn't enough, he chose to help in the resistance against the Nazis as did Toquette and Phillip. Even when they could have gotten out, they stayed. Even when things got perilously close in danger they didn't leave-when the noose began to tighten on Foch Avenue and they were surrounded by the enemy, they stood firm.
This book is inspirational. It could change a life. It could inspire you, dear reader, to be bigger than yourself. With the example of the human beings in the pages of this book, you could be bigger and better than ever and aspire to do good things. This is no mere history book, though the history is appallingly real, this book is more about humans at their best and their worst. This story is about real people who faced an empire and did not back down though most did. The hunger, the horror, the power the Nazis held over France was impressively strong and Paris fell with a whimper due in part by what had happened in Poland, but in the background there were people such as Sumner, his wife, Louise Marie Dissard, Violette Szabo, British Intelligence and other forces who where chipping away at the regime with the very real cost of being caught and murdered. The Gestapo and the SS had sinister ways in which to capture those in the resistance, such as the Funkspiel, where the Germans would impersonate a British spy after taking control of a their radio. In this way, and others, they were able to crack into the line of resistance fighters and gain valuable information. It was a cat and mouse game on Foch Street and the Sumners never knew when someone would turn them in or confess information after being tortured. Parisians left and right were either working for the Germans or had befriended them.
So, if you want to read a really great book-pick this one. This is an incredibly great story. I can't recommend it more. I was literally stuck to this book for two days and while I wasn't reading it, I was talking about it.
I would also suggest the Notes in the back of the book for further information and reading. I also see that Alex Kershaw has written several other books and I intend to get them. This is my great book alert for you. There is no way you would be disappointed reading about great heroes in the midst of terrifying danger in the most beautiful city in the world during one of the ugliest wars in history.