The true story of an audacious resistance campaign undertaken by an unlikely pair: two French women--Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe --who drew on their skills as Parisian avant-garde artists to write and distribute wicked insults against Hitler and calls to desert, a PSYOPs tactic known as 'paper bullets,' designed to demoralize Nazi troops occupying their adopted home of Jersey in the British Channel Islands.
... a captivating tale of queer love and resistance during World War II ... Jackson’s research is impeccable and his writing is lively. Even though this is a Holocaust biography, the trajectory of the women’s lives, and their artistic symbiosis, make for fascinating reading. The book’s clean, crisp language incorporates needed historical context well ... Full of struggles, triumphs, and intimate knowledge of a complex relationship, Paper Bullets is a gem of a historical text about two women who stood up to power defiantly, living on their own terms.
As Jackson expertly describes, Cahun and Moore may have seemed unlikely candidates for the resistance ... Jackson does an excellent job in piecing together their story to depict the deprivations of their time in jail. The book’s interrogation scenes are surprisingly flat, but the drama leading up to them is intense, as are scenes after which they are sentenced to death ... As this skillfully constructed book shows, art may not end a war or pandemic, but it can provide receptive audiences with needed clarity.
Jackson winds readers through their often devastating journey to make it out alive at the end of the war ... Their story...vividly portrays what Jackson calls 'the complexities of ground-level responses to conquest'—the day-to-day, gut-wrenching decisions made by civilians under occupation. The couple’s experience also amplifies the importance of telling the stories of lesbians, women, artists and intellectuals in the historical context of World War II ... with its piercing wartime depictions of rationing and hunger, intimidation and depravity, and nail-biting acts of resistance, Paper Bullets is at its core a story of devotion.