An American Heroine in the French Resistance: The Diary and Memoir of Virginia D'Albert-Lake / Edition 3

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This fascinating book tells the remarkable story of an ordinary American woman's heroism in the French Resistance. Virginia Roush fell in love with Philippe d'Albert-Lake during a visit to France in 1936; they married soon after. In 1943, they both joined the Resistance, where Virginia put her life in jeopardy as she sheltered downed airmen and later survived a Nazi prison camp. After the war, she stayed in France with Philippe, and was awarded the Lgion d'Honneur and the Medal of Honor. She died in 1997.Judy Barrett Litoff brings together two rare documents-Virginia's diary of wartime France until her capture in 1944 and her prison memoir written immediately after the war. Masterfully edited, they convey the compassion and toughness of a nearly forgotten heroine as they provide an invaluable record of the workings of the Resistance by one of the very few American women who participated in it.An indelible portrait of extraordinary strength of character . . . [D'Albert-Lake] is sombre, reflective, and attentive to every detail.-The New Yorker A sharply etched and moving story of love, companionship, commitment, and sacrifice. . . . This beautifully edited diary and memoir throw an original light on the French Resistance.-Robert Gildea, author of Marianne in Chains: In Search of the German Occupation, 1940-1945 At once a stunning self-portrait and dramatic narrative of a valorous young American woman . . . an exciting and gripping story, one of the best of the many wartime tales.-Walter CronkiteAn enthralling tale which brims with brave airmen and plucky heroines.-David Kirby, St. Petersburg Times

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
. . . [A] depiction of the emotional and ideological conflicts one faces in time of war and imprisonment.

I've met and photographed scores of memorable and important people in my time, but few hold a candle to Virginia d'Albert-Lake. Her work as an American woman in the French Resistance saving American airmen's lives led to her winning France's highest decoration, the Legion d'Honneur. But the greatest honor for her was having the love of her husband Phillippe d'Albert-Lake, who was the reason she stayed in France when she could have retreated to the safety of the United States as World War II loomed on the horizon. This is an extraordinary story to be shared with friends, family, and particularly your children, as an example of how a life can be lived with grace, humor, and heroism.-David Hume Kennerly

. . .A tale of quiet heroism.

The New Yorker
In 1937, Virginia Roush, a strong-minded young woman from St. Petersburg, Florida, married a Frenchman, becoming Virginia d’Albert-Lake, and moved to Paris. During the war, she kept a diary, including almost larkish reports of her Resistance work. Part of an escape line that smuggled downed Allied airmen out of the country, she took them on secret sightseeing tours of Paris. In June, 1944, she was arrested by the Germans and sent to a sequence of concentration camps that included three spells in Ravensbrück. (The third time she was transferred from Ravensbrück, she weighed seventy-six pounds.) This book, comprising a diary written before her capture and a memoir written after her liberation, is an indelible portrait of extraordinary strength of character. In the diary she seems naïve and spirited; in the memoir she is sombre, reflective, and attentive to every detail.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

JUDY BARRETT LITOFF's books include We're in This War Too: World War II Letters from American Women in Uniform and, from Fordham, Fighting Fascism in Europe: The World War II Letters of an American Veteran of the Spanish Civil War. She is Professor of History at Bryant University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Editor's Note     ix
Introduction: Women and the French Resistance: The Story of Virginia d'Albert-Lake   Judy Barrett Litoff     xi
Remembering My Mother   Patrick d'Albert-Lake     xxxv
The Diary, October 11, 1939-April 1944
Outbreak of War to the Fall of France, October 11, 1939-June 23, 1940     3
Life after the Fall of France, June 24, 1940-August 29, 1940     50
Life after the Fall of France, September 1940-April 1944     75
The Memoir, "My Story"
Working for Comet Escape Line and Arrest, Fall 1943-June 14, 1944     91
Imprisonment at Fresnes and Romainville, June 15, 1944-August 15, 1944     119
Deportation to Ravensbruck, August 15, 1944-August 22, 1944     142
Internment at Ravensbruck and Torgau, August 22, 1944-October 16, 1944     155
Internment at Konisgberg, October 16, 1944-February 2, 1945     177
Return to Ravensbruck, February 2, 1945-February 28, 1945     209
Liebenau, February 28, 1945-Late May 1945     223
Epilogue     238
Afterword   Jim Calio     242
Appendixes     247
Further Reading     265
Index     267

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    An American Heroine in the French Resistance......EXCELLENT!!

    This was a great book. The details were fantastic! I loved the set up of the "footnotes", which were easily accesable as I read. I found them very informative and helpful to read as I read the book. It took a little bit longer to read but helped make the book more informative. It made it very easy to get back to the place where I was reading. The struggle that Virginia went through and her strength was amazing. She helped so many people without any selfish motives. It made me appreciate more the sacrifices that men and womem did during WWII. My life is blessed because God put these people to help rid this world of the tyranny of those years!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    This is a personal account of life as a political prisoner in German Nazi encampments and is not a dry recitation of history, but rather a passionate, real and often unbelievable account of the strength of an American woman, married to a Frenchman and how she survives her ordeal guided by the love of her adopted country and her man. The writing is superb and the book a page turner. I teared many times and, as with most great books I read, I didn't want it to come to an end. Yes, I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

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