This is a vivid exploration of Hepburn, her family, and the experiences of the Dutch population. Matzen...evocatively depicts the resistance movement, the massive battles in and around Arnhem as the Allies attempted to liberate the country, and the months of near-starvation conditions in the final winter of the war ... A meticulously detailed and researched look at the formative years of an iconic performer; for fans of Hepburn as well as anyone seeking a social history of the Dutch experience of World War II.
...sensitive and deeply moving ... Matzen’s book reveals Hepburn’s grace and courage under fire through meticulous research that includes Hepburn’s own recollections, interviews with those who had known her during the war years, diaries, Dutch archival records, and never-before-seen photographs. A master storyteller, Matzen has given us a great story—intimate, intense, and unforgettable—that carries us not only into the heart of battle but into the heart of a great human being.
Many World War II histories focus on soldiers and tactics that we rarely hear about the real day-to-day life during wartime that lingered well after the battles were over. In this biography by Robert Matzen, the third in a series chronicling the World War II experiences of Hollywood stars, the reader sees the consequences of war on the average citizens who live in its path ... In this thoroughly researched, book Mr. Matzen looks behind the veil of Hollywood glamour to reveal the stories and experiences that never left her.
As with his earlier volumes, this book dives deep into a corner of his subject’s life that gets little attention from most biographers ... Despite extensive research, it is not a complete biography because it only examines one part of Hepburn’s life, albeit in great detail. Nor is it as fully satisfying as a history because it focuses on events primarily as Hepburn experienced them. But it offers a wonderfully complete and revealing character sketch of an individual who continues to fascinate millions around the world ... This entertaining and enlightening book adds another dimension to the legend of Audrey Hepburn.
Drawing upon meticulous research, Mr. Matzen delivers a vivid, moving and persuasive account of a harrowing time that the actress seldom discussed in detail and which has been glossed over or sensationalized by frustrated biographers ... As Mr. Matzen demonstrates in his fascinating book, Audrey Hepburn, for all her future fame, was defined and haunted by World War II.
...exciting ... Visceral details—of intense privation ('I went as long as three days without food,' Hepburn recalled), constant bombings, and also acts of resistance—evoke the period. Matzen has created a vivid portrait of a civilian population under siege–one of who just happened to become a Hollywood star.