Village of Secrets
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Village of Secrets : Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

3.68 (807 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the absorbing story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II--told in full for the first time.

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village of scattered houses high in the mountains of the Ardeche, one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Eastern France. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of this tiny mountain village and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, freemasons, communists, OSS and SOE agents, and Jews. Many of those they protected were orphaned children and babies whose parents had been deported to concentration camps.

With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, and interviews with some of the villagers from the period who are still alive, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination: of what was accomplished when a small group of people banded together to oppose their Nazi occupiers. A thrilling and atmospheric tale of silence and complicity, Village of Secrets reveals how every one of the inhabitants of Chambon remained silent in a country infamous for collaboration. Yet it is also a story about mythmaking, and the fallibility of memory.

A major contribution to WWII history, illustrated with black-and-white photos, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon, and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals, most of them women, for whom saving others became more important than their own lives.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 157.48 x 228.6 x 30.48mm | 521.63g
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0062202472
  • 9780062202475
  • 770,908

Back cover copy

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the fascinating story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II.

High up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France lie tiny, remote villages united by a long and particular history. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, Freemasons, communists, and, above all, Jews, many of them orphans whose parents had been deported to concentration camps. There were no informers, no denunciations, and no one broke ranks. During raids, the children would hide in the woods, their packs on their backs, waiting to hear the farmers' song that told them it was safe to return. After the war, Le Chambon became one of only two places in the world to be honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among Nations.

Just why and how Le Chambon and its outlying villages came to save so many people has never fully been told. With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, along with interviews documenting the testimony of surviving villagers, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination: of what was accomplished when a small group of people banded together to oppose tyranny.

A major contribution to the history of the Second World War, illustrated with black-and-white photographs, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals for whom saving others became more important than their own lives.
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Review quote

"The remote French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.... has been the subject of numerous articles, books, and films. But Moorehead's Village of Secrets is the best account I've seen in any medium. Emphatically not a debunking, this telling of the story is nonetheless deeply nuanced."--Christianity Today
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Rating details

807 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 21% (168)
4 40% (323)
3 28% (229)
2 8% (66)
1 3% (21)
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