Throwback Thursday: Avenue of Spies: a true story of terror, espionage, and one American family’s heroic resistance in Nazi-occupied France by Alex Kershaw (2015)

This text is from the review I wrote in 2015.  Even MORE books about WWII have come out of the woodwork since then.

The past few years of major anniversaries for important events of World War II coupled with the passing of so many of the heroes and villains of that time have brought forth a plethora of interesting and lesser known stories from the war.  Avenue of Spies tells of the occupation of Paris and the French Resistance from the perspective of an American doctor who lived in Paris and worked at the American hospital there in alternating chapters with the point of view of the Nazi and SS officers who took over most of the residences on the Avenue Foch, where Doctor Sumner Jackson also lived.  The tale includes heroic deeds, nasty Nazis, and slimy collaborators, many of whom were able to thrive after the war when others whose crimes were arguably less egregious, but whose influence and social standing were not as great, were imprisoned or executed.  The Germans are portrayed almost completely unsympathetically, as subhuman sadists, which is unfortunate.  A more balanced portrayal might have given the book more depth.  Though there were several gripping passages, as a whole, it is not of the caliber of Ben Macintyre’s work in Double Cross, or Operation Mincemeat.  The material is all there, but somehow, the narrative doesn’t gel.  The reader keeps waiting for the story to get off the starting blocks and it never does.  This is for readers who will read ANYTHING about WWII.  If you are more selective, there are plenty of other options.

Published by Robin Henry

Independent Scholar and Book Coach specializing in Historical Fiction and Literary Fan Fiction.

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