NOAH'S ARK by Marie-Madeleine Fourcade


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As soon as the Nazis occupied France, the 29-year-old Fourcade began working with a right-wing patriot, Commandant ""Navarre,"" to build an intelligence network for the British; she soon found herself, ""Poz 55,"" at the head of what became known as the Alliance. The book is vague about the substance of the intelligence provided, but, written in a novelistic manner and translated into slangy British vernacular, it is full of amazing near-captures and escapes; and it gives a sense of the intricacies of radio transmission, recruitment of agents, and undercover hazards and subterfuges. The Alliance had remarkable success in obtaining clandestine aid from the French police and even Vichy officials, but a terrible toll was taken by the Gestapo, especially after 1942, and the network had to be wholly rebuilt several times. Secret service rivalries and Resistance fragmentation are touched on briefly; odd events one would like to have explained are related without comment (the captured Commandant Faye tells the Gestapo the Germans are losing the war and they promptly agree to treat the Alliance less harshly as military opponents rather than spies). First published in a longer French version in 1968, this abridgment should bring Fourcade new recognition among English-speakers; Henri Michel's chapter on Resistance women in The Shadow War (1972), for example, doesn't mention her, though this book appears in his bibliography. An undeniably exciting addition to the World War II intelligence literature.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Dutton