It is good to be reminded of just how many risked imprisonment or execution for hiding Jews under the racialized jurisdiction of the occupiers ... The vastness of Kochanski’s subject can perhaps be grasped by the division of her book into thirty-two chapters, covering every aspect of resistance, whether direct violence, clandestine publication, help for escapers and evaders from Allied forces, or hiding Jews from the Gestapo’s remorseless hunt for victims ... Kochanski sums up what the resistance achieved in a few pages of conclusion, but this is a disappointment after such a full and nuanced account of all the different forms of resistance. As with many accounts of resistance, she measures its success by what the Allies got from it and concludes that intelligence information was most significant. This view reflects the way that much of the narrative is shaped by what the Allies did and wanted, rather than starting the other way round with the history of local resistance and the communities that housed it, into which SOE or OSS intruded from outside ... an impressively researched and comprehensive account. Kochanski’s huge history will be without question the best narrative available on the origins, growth and activities of the many forms of resistance to German and Italian occupation during the Second World War. Her panorama is vast, a mirror image of the war itself, to which the resistance owed its pattern and evolution. If it sometimes seems too encyclopedic, that reflects the challenge to any author in covering a continent-wide story with anything like adequate detail. Kochanski is to be congratulated on rising so effectively to the challenge.
This is the most comprehensive and best account of resistance I have read. It addresses the story with scholarly objectivity and an absolute lack of sentimentality. So much romantic twaddle is still published, especially about Britain’s Special Operations Executive and particularly about its female agents, that it is marvellous to read a study of such breadth and depth, which reaches balanced judgments ... It is not iconoclastic — indeed, pays effusive tribute to the courage of those who resisted. It merely seeks to address sometimes unpalatable realities.
... thorough and well-researched ... Kochanski is careful to note that the rise of resistance was never steady or linear ... How much did resistance forces contribute to winning the war? The obvious temptation for the author of a book like this is to play up the impact of all the human bravery it depicts. Kochanski resists it ... Kochanski tells this story effectively on the basis of deep research (although almost entirely in English-language sources). Her long book is always interesting and readable, sensitive to the powerful human drama it presents ... Often, however, Kochanski undermines the depth of her research through her rigid way of thinking about it. The most glaring example is her exclusion of German internal resistance from the story. Kochanski tells us she wants to write a .balanced. portrait of all European resistance that avoids the .pitfalls of nationalism.. But she also tells us that since Germany was neither invaded nor occupied, .there was nothing to resist'...This is nonsense ... Still, this is an instructive book ... One does not need to listen too closely to detect the melancholy echoes in our own time.