Lynne Olson, who has written widely about Allied efforts during the war, turns a long-overdue spotlight on Fourcade in a tense new page-turner...Olson’s research is comprehensive, her writing crackling, and her story astonishing. She is wise enough to get out of the way of her compelling material, but also to shape it so that the Alliance’s complicated exploits are clear and the dozens of players in the story, many with one or more code names, can be kept straight. The book is war history, to be sure, but also an astute character portrait and a study in management and persistence under harrowing circumstances ...
Madame Fourcade’s Secret War” manages in spots to be a little dull. The writing is clear, detailed and reminiscent of your high school history textbook. As the names and places and dates whizzed past, I was left hungry for a more fully dimensional, complex portrait of the woman behind the tough-cookie persona. It is possible to devote 400 pages to someone and still leave their character feeling underdeveloped ... None of which is to devalue the broader contributions of the author or her subject ... Brava to Lynne Olson for a biography that should challenge any outdated assumptions about who deserves to be called a hero.
Though not covered with the same depth as Fourcade's activities, the experiences of several key members in her Resistance cell are also chronicled, fleshing out the larger scope of this group. The organizational genius of Fourcade shines through tales of her cat-and-mouse game with the Gestapo, including multiple daring escapes from Nazi captivity ... As well researched and engrossing as her previous books, showcasing her adroit ability to weave personal narratives, political intrigue, and wartime developments to tell a riveting story, Olson's latest is highly recommended to readers interested in World War II, the history of espionage, women's history, and European history.
[Olson] use of quotes and solid descriptive passages help re-create the tension and anxiety Fourcade and her friends felt as they risked everything to save France. Olson also effectively integrates a thorough history of the role of the Vichy government during this time as well as details on how MI6 and the Allies used the information Alliance collected to change the course of the war. She shares specifics on many of the agents under Fourcade’s control, their daring exploits and escapes, and what happened to those captured by the Germans. With the same attention to detail, Olson writes about Fourcade’s secret lover and her children. Although the text is overlong, the author brings into the spotlight a woman whose courage and endurance helped shape history yet whose full story had not yet been told ... An engaging, informative addition to World War II history.
... brilliant, cinematic ... Olson’s weaving of Fourcade’s diary artfully and liberally into her own writing and her heart-stopping descriptions of Paris, escapes, and internecine warring create a narrative that’s as dramatic as a novel or a film. Olson honors Fourcade’s fight for freedom and her 'refusal to be silenced' with a gripping narrative that will thrill WWII history buffs.