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Outwitting the Gestapo Paperback – November 1, 1994

4.2 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The stirring memoir of a French Resistance member was a BOMC and a History Book Club selection in cloth.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A suspenseful rendering of Aubrac's experiences as a French Resistance fighter during WW II. This memoir owes its existence to the 1983 extradition to France of Klaus Barbie, the ``Butcher of Lyon'': In order to refute Barbie's defenders and former collaborators, Aubrac told her story publicly for the first time- -and it became a bestseller in France. Focusing on a nine-month period that begins with the conception of her second child, Aubrac looks back 40 years at experiences of enduring intensity. During the war, the author, her Jewish husband Raymond, and other ``resistants'' published and distributed underground newspapers, found new identities and homes for fugitives, forged permits, stole guns, and blew up roads and bridges--all routine Resistance activities. What makes this account special, however, is Aubrac's irrepressible energy and resourcefulness, and the graceful way in which she interweaves her separate but parallel lives. As a mother and wife struggling in a wartime economy, she bartered for hard-to-find items; as a devoted schoolteacher, she applied the lessons of history to current events; as a secret member of the Resistance, she couldn't disclose her true identity even to her most trusted colleagues, switching names and identities like a quick-change artist. Three times, she helped free her husband from prison. The last incarceration was the most harrowing: Walking into a trap, Raymond was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to die by Barbie himself. Despite her anguish, Aubrac tricked her husband's captors into meetings and masterminded an intricate rescue. The Aubracs' escape by airlift to London, where their baby was born, is tremendously exciting. A breathtaking account that feeds the soul as much as it satisfies the appetite for vicarious danger. (Seven b&w photographs--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 241 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; New Ed edition (November 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803259239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803259232
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bryan Gibby VINE VOICE on April 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lucie Aubrac's first hand account of her "career" as a key member of the French resistance in the city of Lyon can't help but evoke an emotional connection between the author's gripping story and the reader sitting in comfort at home. I mostly second all that the previous reviewer lauded. The story itself is compelling, and the glimpse that it offers of a woman's struggle to balance the cares of wife, mother, "girlfriend," "fiancee," patriot, etc., provides a much needed balance to our understanding of the total effects of a conflict such as WWII. The personalness of the book is perhaps its greatest strength.
The translation is extremely fluid and detracts not at all from the author's tale.
Some criticism to keep in the back of the mind: it could simply be the author's purpose, however, I was struck by the seeming lack of concern of being caught -- until the end of the book (I won't spoil it for you). Lucie's life seems to be minimally impacted by her resistance ties. Like I said, maybe she left out those details on purpose, I don't know. The other thing the "bothered" me was the unconvincing account of how she was able to arrange for the purchase of silencers in Switzerland, travel to Switzerland to pick up the silencers, and then recross the border the same day without arousing suspicion. I doubt she was able to pick up the telephone and call a gun dealer to arrange the transaction -- maybe I missed it. Whatever, just something to consider.
On the whole, I heartily endorse this book; it is exciting without being Bond-ish, and it is personal without being too proximate. Furthermore, it convincingly demonstrates the various motives of resistance, and it illustrates the fact that even a single person can make a difference in a struggle as vast as a world at war.
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Format: Paperback
..Set in Lyon after the Germans had invaded the southern 'zone libre' this book purports to be a diary, written during a nine month period of 1943 by one of the most France's most famous resistance 'personalities'. Claude Berri's acclaimed 1995 film 'Lucie Aubrac' was based on the events described. As a number of reviewers have already remarked , many scenes in this account appear to have been directly conjured up from the author's imagination and the Aubracs themselves, subject to media scrutiny as France's resistance history is increasingly put under the microscope have admitted that this book is indeed part novelisation. Translated from the French 'Ils partiront dans l'ivresse' the author revels in her self portrayal as mother, heroine, & machine gun toting guerilla fighter and resistance cell leader. No where does she state that she and her husband were leading lights in a communist resistance grouping and no light is shed at all on what their role might have been in the capture by the Gestapo of De Gaulle's envoy and resistance unifier Jean Moulin in Caluire, a suburb of Lyon during June 1943. One of the main espisodes of the book is Aubrac's attempt to liberate her husband, captured at the same time as Moulin and held by Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie. The facility with which she is able to come and go from Gestapo headquarters in Lyon has led more than one writer to question whether or not the Aubracs were indeed on Barbie's payroll; either that or many elements of Raymond Aubrac's subsequent escape are pure invention. Of course Klaus Barbie muddied the waters somewhat at his trial in the late 80's but the brutal portrayal of him here simply begs the question...how could he possibly have been taken in as Aubrac suggests.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Outwitting the Gestapo by Lucie Aubrac is a personal account written as a diary about the author's role in the resistance. The author grew up in a family with substantial wealth because they were wine growers. She was also a history teacher and a communist. In the 1930s, she met foreign students and sympathized with them over the political oppression they dealt with from fascism. Many of these students were socialists and communists (3). This experience along with marrying a Jewish engineer persuaded her to join the French Resistance after Germany defeated France. The purpose of Aubrac writing this book is to leave a memoir about her role in the resistance. This book also provides insight on what it was also like to live in occupied France.

The story takes place in Lyon where Lucie is a history schoolteacher and a member of the resistance while she is pregnant with her second child. Her personal account is mostly about her role in the resistance and surviving under German occupation. She also notes some of her tactics to "outwit" the Gestapo. For example, Aubrac had a doctor establish a spurious record claiming she was a former tuberculosis patient; she could not teach if she still suffered from it by school policies. She used her fabricated medical certificate to get two weeks of absence in order to do missions for the resistance (33). Aubrac also portrays the French resistance to be a unique group of people. According to the author, the resistance is made up of "engineers, draftsmen, teachers, middle-class or workers, every one of us entered the world of cheating and lies with utmost serenity" (47-48). One of the roles of the resistance was to print false identification cards for Jews, in order to help prevent them from not being deported (46).
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