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Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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“Last Hope Island is a book to be welcomed, both for the past it recovers and also, quite simply, for being such a pleasant tome to read. . . . Certain of these refugee groups have had their stories told before . . . but Olson’s book is the first to weave this all together. . . . It’s a well-written and well-illustrated book, and deeply researched.”—The Washington Post
“In Last Hope Island [Lynne Olson] argues an arresting new thesis: that the people of occupied Europe and the expatriate leaders did far more for their own liberation than historians and the public alike recognize. . . . The scale of the organization she describes is breathtaking.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A brisk and compelling portrait of wartime Britain.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[A] pointed volume . . . [Olson] tells a great story and has a fine eye for character.”—The Boston Globe
“Spellbinding . . . [a] masterful account of England in World War II . . . [Olson] brings both a journalist’s eye and a novelist’s command of character and setting to this subject. . . . For American readers inclined to begin their World War II reading after U.S. entry into the conflict, Last Hope Island opens a fascinating trove of stories, characters and facts. . . . Olson’s book, ten years in the making, not only helps illuminate the past but also serves as an insightful backdrop for today’s discussion of the future of twenty-first-century European alliances.”—BookPage, “Top Pick”
“A rip-roaring saga of hairbreadth escape, espionage, and resistance during World War II, Lynne Olson’s Last Hope Island salvages the forgotten stories of a collection of heroic souls from seven countries overrun by Hitler who find refuge in Churchill’s London and then seek payback in ways large and small. In thrilling fashion, Olson shows us that hell hath no fury like a small country scorned.”—Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake
“Lynne Olson is a master storyteller, and she brings her great gifts to this riveting narrative of the resistance to Hitler’s war machine. You will be thrilled and moved—and enraged, saddened, and shocked—by the courage and steadfastness, human waste and stupidity, carelessness and nobility, of an epic struggle. Last Hope Island is a smashing good tale.”—Evan Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Being Nixon
“In a series of compelling books in recent years, Lynne Olson has established herself as an authoritative and entertaining chronicler of perhaps the largest single event in human history—the Second World War. Now comes Last Hope Island, a powerful and surprising account of how figures from Nazi-occupied Europe found Great Britain an essential shield and sword in the struggle against Hitler. This is a wonderful work of history, told in Olson’s trademark style.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion
“You wouldn’t think that there would still be untold tales about World War II, but Lynne Olson, a master of that period of history, has found some. Not only does she narrate them with her usual verve, but her book reminds us how much we unthinkingly assume that it was the United States and Britain alone who defeated the Nazis in Western Europe. Last Hope Island is a valuable, and immensely readable, corrective.”—Adam Hochschild, New York Times bestselling author of King Leopold’s Ghost
“This is a history book that reads like the best thrillers. . . . Olson offers a fascinating view of the war and its aftermath, less from a military than from a high-level civilian perspective. . . . The many individuals are finely drawn, major developments are well covered, and the book provides an unusual and very insightful angle on the war.”—Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Lynne Olson is the New York Times bestselling author of 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. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.
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Those Angry Days, Citizens of London and Troublesome Young Men. This new work is an exciting account of the importance of Great Britain to allied nations who had been conquered by the evil Nazis. Charl;es DeGaulle directed efforts to free France from his London quarters while rulers like Queen Wilhelmina of Holland King Haakon of Norway broadcast over the BBC to their captive peoples on the continent. From England came spy missions directed by M16 and SOE into captive Europe. Many of the agents sent abroad died as did the brave people of occupied Europe who provided food, shelter and hope to them. Brave Europeans guided downed fliers and stranded soldiers to neutral France. The resistance helped provide for the Allied invasion of June 6, 1944 by covert actions against the German army. We see how important scientists were rescued by British operatives who assured their participation in the breaking of the Enigma Code used by the Germans. Many rescued scientists also took part in planning for the nuclear bombs used against Japan.
This is an exciting book dealing with all the cloak and dagger spy activity more fascinating and scary than anything conjured up by a fiction author.
I found it especially moving to hear of the hunger and suffering of the captive people of Europe in Holland, France, Belgium, Poland and Czechoslovakia. The contribution of Polish airmen during the Battle of Britain in 1940 was inspiring. Olson includes many stories about real life men and women who were real heroes in the long and bloody fight against Fascism. I was surprised to learn of the bitter bureaucratic infighting that occurred between SOE and M16 as well as DeGaulle and FDR's mutual hatred. The book is well researched, written and is not boring. Period photos enhance the reading experience. Another outstanding work by popular historian Olson. Well done!
Of particular interest is the treatment of the citizens of Poland and
Czechoslovakia who were so shamefully betrayed by Great Britain, Franklin
Delano Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower. This book should be read by anyone
interested in World War II.