The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris's hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the "mad sadist" Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps. And Number 84 housed the Parisian headquarters of the Gestapo, run by the most effective spy hunter in Nazi Germany.
From his office at the American Hospital, itself an epicenter of Allied and Axis intrigue, Jackson smuggled fallen Allied fighter pilots safely out of France, a job complicated by the hospital director's close ties to collaborationist Vichy. After witnessing the brutal round-up of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11—but the noose soon began to tighten. When his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors, he and his family were forced to undertake a journey into the dark heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return.
Drawing upon a wealth of primary source material and extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Alex Kershaw recreates the City of Light during its darkest days. The untold story of the Jackson family anchors the suspenseful narrative, and Kershaw dazzles readers with the vivid immediacy of the best spy thrillers. Awash with the tense atmosphere of World War II's Europe, Avenue of Spies introduces us to the brave doctor who risked everything to defy Hitler.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Part 1 City Of Darkness
Chapter 1 The Fall 3
Chapter 2 To Save France 11
Chapter 3 The Fourteenth 21
Chapter 4 Day Trippers 29
Chapter 5 Spies of Summer 33
Chapter 6 Winged Victory 41
Part 2 Armies of the Night
Chapter 7 On Doctor's Orders 55
Chapter 8 Avenue Boche 65
Chapter 9 The Shadow Game 75
Chapter 10 Number 11 81
Chapter 11 The Last Summer 93
Chapter 12 The Last Metro 109
Part 3 Night and Fog
Chapter 13 Guests of the Reich 123
Chapter 14 The Coup: July 20, 1944 139
Chapter 15 Ave Maria 147
Chapter 16 Days of Glory 161
Chapter 17 Night and Fog 177
Chapter 18 Neuengamme 185
Chapter 19 Deliverance 191
Part 4 After the Fall
Chapter 20 One Day in May 203
Chapter 21 His Majesty's Service 209
Chapter 22 Justice 217
Epilogue: Les Invalides 225
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A very difficult read because the events related in the book are so horrific and unimaginable: the dangers and deprivations of everyday life in Paris under Nazi occupation during WWII; cruel and sadistic treatment by the Gestapo and Milice of persons deemed enemies of the state; the disgusting complicity of some of France’s own citizens to the horrors happening around them; deportations of thousands upon thousands of Jews, including children, to the Nazi death and work camps; and the extraordinary on-the-spot life-and-death decisions made by people like Toquette Jackson, who agreed to turn her home on Avenue Foch into a “drop box” for the intelligence-gathering activities of the Resistance, her decision made doubly risky by the fact that the Gestapo had set up headquarters just a few yards up the street from her on Avenue Foch; Sumner Jackson’s heroic refusal to leave his dying patients at Lübeck, forgoing the possibility of freedom for himself and his son. There are many, many scenes that will haunt you long after you’ve put down this book: the fate of British spies Violette Szabo, Lilian Rolfe and Denise Bloch at Ravensbrück concentration camp; prisoners trapped in the hold of the SS ship Thielbek as it began to fill with water; the dead bodies on the beaches of Neustadt, including children “who had been clubbed to death using rifles” because the Germans had run out of ammunition; Gestapo and SS officers refusing to acknowledge their guilt during their trials for crimes against humanity. This is a story of people brought to the limits of physical, mental, and moral endurance, of the courage and will to survive, when courage and will are the only things you have left, and when perhaps even courage and will are not enough.
great spy thriller and true too!
We all need to read books like this about the people, places, events, and horrors that were the meat and potatoes of World War II. - even if biographical reads are not our "thing" nor historical non-fiction what we long to delve into. And even if the book is written in such a manner that it primarily bores us stiff. We need to read the stories. We need to acquaint ourselves with what happened to millions of people. We need to know the depth to which humanity can plunge and the height to which the human spirit can soar. Avenue of Spies sounded intriguing to me. I am a bit of a history buff so reading about the events of World War II wasn't much of a stretch for me to reach for the book and get started. But the story, while a relatively thin book, was a slow read. A tedious read. And frankly quite hard to grasp at the start. But about midway through, my interest began to latch hold and the story of Dr. Jackson and his wife and son captured my attention and left my heart weeping. Dr. Jackson was an American practicing medicine in Paris. His European wife was happiest on her own turf, so he happily resettled. Having been a doctor on the front lines of World War I, he easily transitioned from private practise to war injuries when the war came to Paris. Living and having his medical headquarters on the fashionable Avenue Foch with the most feared of German soldiers encamped as his neighbors did not deter him from pursing clandestine activities. The cost to him and his family was dear as this memoir brings out. Horrific circumstances and heroic personalities. We don't want to repeat World War II, so read and learn from history. I received a complimentary copy from Blogging For Books reviewers program. Opinions are solely my own.
4.5 stars This was definitely an interesting and informative book. It mostly dealt with one family (a husband, wife and their young son) who lived on Avenue Foch which just happened to be one of the richest streets of Paris during the second World War. The father was a doctor who was instrumental in getting a lot of people out of Paris and into ally countries. His wife was instrumental in getting involved with the resistance. Of course, there were other players in the book but these were the main ones. The story starts before Germany captures Paris and ends when Germany falls. It gives a total insight as to the inner working of the Third Reich and how some of the officers were not exactly playing by the book. I've read books that talk about the Germans coming in and taking over Paris and how they would act. But this book tells exactly what was going on behind the scenes and it gives a clearer picture about the train rides and the camps. I would like to thank Blogging for Books and the publisher for providing me with this e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it. It's not a fun read, but unfortunately it's a factual read.
The title pretty much tells my story.