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History Book Discussion

  • Carriage House 23 West Maple Street Lombard, IL, 60148 United States (map)
Avenue of Spies.jpg

Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris

by Alex Kershaw

WWII historian Kershaw (The Liberator) revisits the valorous actions of American surgeon Sumner Jackson who, along with his French wife, Toquette, and young son, Phillip, falsified the medical records of Allied pilots and troops at the American Hospital in Paris to aid them in escaping the Nazis. During the four years of German occupation, the Jackson residence—which was located on the same avenue as the Gestapo headquarters—became a valuable conduit for French resistance fighters, who from the fall of 1940 had been pitted against the Nazi Schutzstaffel and their informers. Kershaw, using war documents and interviews with the aging Phillip, brilliantly captures the deadly cat-and-mouse game between Charles de Gaulle's underground and the Nazis and Vichy fascists. As the Gestapo infiltrate the resistance and discover its secrets, the Jacksons suffer the same fate as their friends, enduring the unspeakable torment of those they aided in the closing moments of the war. Kershaw's sobering look at a family's heroism in one of the history's darkest hours vividly shows what war costs in human terms. PW, August

Earlier Event: January 7
History Book Discussion
Later Event: April 15
History Book Discussion