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Saturday, September 16, 2017


An Exceedingly Well-Written History

Published in April of 2017 by Random House Audio
Read by Arthur Morey
Duration: 18 hours, 46 minutes

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)  and Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970)
As Europe collapsed before the Nazi onslaught several governments-in-exile retreated to the United Kingdom in an effort to support their struggling underground resistance movements and to remind the world of their plight. Some brought a lot of soldiers (Poland), some brought money, some brought civilian ships and some brought not much more than a loud voice and the will to use it.

This was not an easy alliance. The UK was xenophobic and stunned at the rapid fall of France and many of the governments in exile were being ripped apart from their own internal politics. Misunderstandings, patronizing attitudes and differing agendas make everything more difficult.

When America and the Soviets joined the war the UK shifted its attention away from the governments-in-exile to its new, much more potent allies and those new allies had different agendas. Those new agendas often did not match those of the governments-in-exile. President Roosevelt was surprisingly indifferent to them and the Soviet Union was only interested in gobbling up as many of them as it could.

Olson begins her history with the stories of how each country fell to Nazi Germany and their government's reacted. Most fled, but not all did. France did both with both Vichy France and Charles de Gaulle claiming supremacy. These stories are extremely well told and quite gripping.

The middle part of the book deals with Britain's intelligence or outright military operations in the conquered countries. 
 Interestingly, the UK's intelligence service thought that it was brilliant, but the reality was far from that. If you have seen the old TV show Hogan's Heroes, the reality is that the UK was far more like Colonel Klink than like Colonel Hogan. Truly embarrassing and idiotic mistakes were made for years on end.

The end of the book is very moving as it features the return of the different governments and what happened when they returned. For some, they were hailed as heroes, some were derided and some just disappeared behind the Iron Curtain.

Lynne Olson has a real talent for writing history and the reader, Arthur Morey did an excellent job as well. This was an informative, entertaining and often very moving history.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: LAST HOPE ISLAND: BRITAIN, OCCUPIED EUROPE, and the BROTHERHOOD THAT HELPED TURN the TIDE of WAR (audiobook) by Lynne Olson

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