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.
... compendious ... She might perhaps have written more about the backlash against the resistance ... It is impossible, even in a book of this length, to cover every aspect of a subject that spans six years, an entire continent and a vastly complicated array of networks and characters. Its value lies in identifying and recording the great sweep of resistance activities, and as an overview it will prove invaluable to historians.