BACKWATER WAR by Peggy Woodford


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The most unusual thing about this small gallant gesture of resistance is that it takes place on the Channel Island of Guernsey, occupied early on by the Nazis and truly a military backwater where the population endured years of semi-starvation rations but saw no fighting. Under the circumstances Fred, desperate for action, and Marek, a Polish prisoner escaped from one of the island's Todt labor camps, decide to make for England in a fishing boat. We follow their plot through the eyes of Anna, who loves Fred and is loved by Marek, but who welcomes the chance to be part of a heroic flight after her English father is deported to Bavaria and she and her mother are left with their ungenerous, resentful Aunt Adele. Since the only Germans that we see close up are the exceptionally civilized Von Morgenstern and a dim-witted guard--and since everyone, even Anna's father, seems destined to survive--this is more insulated from the war's reality than the historical Guernsey ever was. But though the escape goes more smoothly than one has any right to expect, Anna's endurance of the strain of occupation--particularly hunger and the petty frictions it so intensifies--give this chins-up story realistic texture and unexpected weight.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1975
ISBN: 1904529534
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux