An Amherst College historian explores the contributions of young adults to the French Resistance against Nazi occupation, revealing how teen revolutionaries acquired skills ranging from sabotage and patrol evasion to intelligence smuggling and lethal self-defense.
Rosbottom...has written an exceptional account about the French Resistance. His melding of foreign conquest and adolescence offers a unique perspective of what happened in France during the Occupation ... Highly recommended for Francophiles and those interested in World War II; this work adds to World War II and French historiography.
In Sudden Courage: Youth in France Confront the Germans, 1940-1945 the author finds many points of light in young people who acted with bravery, passion and savvy in confronting a brutal enemy willing to exact the ultimate punishment on those who got in its way ... As in his earlier book, he proves to be a fine story-teller but doesn’t have much to say about the traditional concerns of historians regarding social context or patterns of behavior that might shed light on the actions of individuals ... Mr. Rosbottom avoids engaging in the intense debates that take place among historians as to whether France should be cheered for saving around 75% of its Jews, or condemned for sending a quarter of them to their deaths. Nor does he ask about the role of young people in the épuration, the violent prosecution of collaborators in the aftermath of the Liberation, in which tens of thousands were punished and several thousand executed outright ... Mr. Rosbottom is committed to staying on the sunny side of the street where heroic young people defy the odds and attempt great things. That may not be history, but theirs are lives worth remembering—especially if, like the author, we still look to young people for idealism and inspiration.
In this captivating history...Rosbottom details how these youth went from classes and homework to forging documents and stealing Nazi secrets ... This is a moving chronicle of youthful courage and sacrifice.