The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became France's Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando

In This Review

The Saboteur: The Aristocrat Who Became France's Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando
By Paul Kix
Harper, 2017
304 pp.

This gripping account of the French resistance to the Nazi occupation is told through the remarkable experiences of Robert de La Rochefoucauld, a Frenchman from an aristocratic family who was a teenager at the time of the German invasion. After escaping to London via Spain, he was recruited by the Special Operations Executive, the British espionage and irregular warfare service, and returned to France to sabotage the German war effort and gather intelligence. His expertise in plastic explosives led to a number of early successes. But as his network of agents expanded, some betrayed him; others cracked under torture. Eventually, La Rochefoucauld himself was captured and brutally interrogated. Having failed to extract any information from him, the Germans sentenced him to death. The book’s most dramatic sequences describe his escape from the truck that was taking him to his execution and his subsequent journey back to London. He returned to France again just before D-Day, was caught again, and escaped yet again to carry out even more sabotage behind German lines.

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