“Regina L said: 4 Stars
This is the story of 230 women arrested for various activities within the French Resistance after the Battle of France. The women ranged in ages from fifteen to mid-sixties. At first, the women were held in a prison outside of Paris. Eventually, they were sent to Auschwitz in a single transport. Only forty-nine would return. This is simply their story.
Moorehead does an excellent job in a couple of areas. First, I commend her for the sensitivity and almost reverence with which she approaches the lives of these women. The book is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the lives prior to the war and the actions within the Resistance. You can tell Moorehead felt a great deal of responsiblity in acknowledging each individual's life. That can be a problem for the reader. With such a list of characters it can be difficult to keep up. The second part of the book deals with the internments. Here, Moorehead identifies the characteristics that helped the women survive and focuses on the bonds of friendship these women felt. Moorehead gives a lot of credit to those bonds for survival. Finally, Moorehead has a very interesting way of writing. As I read questions would pop into my head. I would jot them down thinking I wanted to research them later. In the final couple of chapters, she addresses every single one of them. They aren't answered fully, but it was interesting that she knows what questions you are going to have.
There were some criticisms. First, Moorehead had a tendency to make generalized statements and not back them up. She often states an opinion as a fact. Finally, she is heavily sympathetic towards the members of the Communist Party. I don't take issue with relating those stories. They are important and often left out because of the feelings between the West and the Soviets in the aftermath of the war, but I'm afraid that in the manner Moorehead has done it the reader may come away with the impression that it was mainly those wtih Communist beliefs that were members of the Resistance.
One final note. I was really glad I read The Black Count earlier. Moorehead makes the case, and I appreciated it more fully because of the read, that there was a great deal of irony in the fact that a country that so readily gave equal rights to all of its citizens so readily stepped aside and watched to attrocities perpetrated on minorities under the occupation. That (those connections), my friends, is why I like to read.”