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

A SUNDAY TIMES TOP FIVE BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2014

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

High up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France lies a cluster of tiny, remote villages united by a long and particular history. During the Nazi occupation, the inhabitants of the Plateau Vivarais Lignon saved several thousand people from the concentration camps. As the victims of Nazi persecution flooded in – resisters, freemasons, communists and Jews, many of them children – the villagers united to keep them safe.

The story of why and how these villages came to save so many people has never been fully told. But several of the remarkable architects of the mission are still alive, as are a number of those they saved. Caroline Moorehead has sought out and interviewed many of the people involved in this extraordinary undertaking, and brings us their unforgettable testimonies. It is a story of courage and determination, of a small number of heroic individuals who risked their lives to save others, and of what can be done when people come together to oppose tyranny.

Reviews

Brilliant… It is refreshing to read a book that so confidently abandons the rhetoric of heroism and tries to see its subjects for who they were… Moorehead has had to master a huge amount of background material, and she pulls it off with skill and a remarkable lightness of touch

Keith Lowe, Mail on Sunday

Riven with complexity… Stories of this weight could occupy several volumes and would still disorientate with all the possibilities – both altruistic and malevolent – of human nature

Sinclair Mckay, Telegraph

Vivid...an unsparing yet balanced account of the Vichy years...we need books like this to make it impossible for us to forget.

Alan Judd, Spectator

An especially poignant story… enthralling and meticulous book… amidst the horror of the Holocaust – and such horror is painfully evident in the lives of those left behind – this book shows that human kindness endured undimmed by the propaganda, the threats of violence and the vast rewards on offer for submitting to the will of Nazis

Harry Hodges, Daily Express

Moorehead draws vivid portraits of those who helped…The emotional heart of the book beats in the children’s stories…The story does not end with Liberation. Moorehead, a biographer and historian, scrupulously records the emotional fallout from the children’s experiences

Edward Stourton, The Times

A lot is known about the authors of this unhuman cruelty, the Nazi overlords and their villainous Vichy accomplices. Less well-documented are the heroes, the ordinary, decent people, who put their lives at risk by hiding and saving Jews from death camps. Village of Secrets is an impressive attempt to set straight the record, an uplifting tale of courage and morality…Moorehead travelled the world interviewing survivors and had access to archives that few have seen

Matthew Campbell, The Sunday Times

Compelling and authoritative…latterly, Moorehead writes, there has been an emphasis on 'minimising collaborators and celebrating resisters'. She sets that record straight

Sue Gaisford, Financial Times

Moorehead is not the first to have written of this remarkable safe enclave, but she has investigated the most thoroughly, tracking down survivors among the protectors and among the children...this is an inspiring book

Peter Lewis, Daily Mail 'Book of the Week'

A tremendously well-written and important book and a testament to the qualities Camus lent La Peste's hero: 'humane, optimistic, tolerant, free-thinking, ever alive to injustice and acts of inhumanity'

Rebecca K Morris, Independent

Caroline Moorehead’s remarkable book is in essence the story of how a community, or rather group of communities, survived the travails of war with dignity. It is also a tale that gives a larger meaning to Hemingway’s macho phrase, 'grace under pressure'… Moorehead is wary of attempts to simplify history and ignore the complications of memory… What, as the last memories dim, was the truth? Moorehead’s question is implicit: is there such a thing? The reader is left with another question, equally difficult: 'what would I have done?’

Ian Bell, The Herald

Fascinating and heartening story… Thorough, objective and readable… captivating

Roger Hutchinson, Scotsman

Brilliantly captures the actions of an astonishing, taciturn wartime community

Dermot Bulger, Sunday Business Post

A story of courage and determination, of heroic individuals…and of what can be done when people come together to oppose tyranny

Sunday Telegraph

A unique story of courage and determination

Daily Telegraph

Elegant style

WOW247

Moorehead’s account makes for frequently moving and, at times, harrowing reading… Fascinating

Hanna Diamond, BBC History Magazine

[Moorehead is a] brilliant investigative journalist

Country Life

A work of remembrance and a moving tribute

Iain Finlayson, Saga Magazine

Moorehead skillfully intersperses layer after layer of historical fact with narratives of deeply human stories

Henriette Wentink, Reform Magazine

A moving piece, splendidly told

Lucy Beckett, Tablet

It’s an inspiring story

Peter Lewis, Daily Mail

Moorehead does an expert job in pulling together testimonies from survivors to filter myths and memories from fact to retell an extraordinary tale

Julia Richardson, Daily Mail

Story of courage and determination, of a small number of heroic individuals who risked their lives to save others, and of what can be done when people come together to oppose tyranny

Miss Dinky

Village of Secrets is crammed full of stories from survivors, tales of courage, betrayal, failure, success, hope, despair. It is a helter-skelter ride through the most extreme of human experiences

Susannah Perkins, Nudge

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099554646

    September 1, 2015

    Vintage

    384 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9780701188061

    September 1, 2014

    Chatto & Windus

    384 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473513037

    August 28, 2014

    Vintage Digital

    384 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Also by Caroline Moorehead

A Bold and Dangerous Family
A Train in Winter
Dancing to the Precipice
Human Cargo
Martha Gellhorn

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