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Resistance and Betrayal: The Death and Life…
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Resistance and Betrayal: The Death and Life of the Greatest Hero of the… (2000)

by Patrick Marnham

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The problem with biographies of Jean Moulin is that he was such a secretive figure it's hard to build a page count out of him. One almost suspects the fury of controversal opinions on his 'true' political views and who betrayed the meeting in Caluire* has sprung up solely to help authors produce something longer than a phamplet.

Marnham does an able job over coming this using secondary sources. For example, it's known that Jean Moulin was a 'lord of misrule' for a while in his youth when he had to attend the same school where his father taught history. So in addition to what facts are known about those years, Marnham includes a quote from another person who was in the same position growing up: Graham Greene. He also quotes Thomas Merton's description of what such a school was like. This literary device does a good job of filling in the gaps.

All in all, a fascinating story told well and with rich details.

(*I say Malrux did it, in the library, with the candlestick. Man was just so eager to make that speech! ;-)
  willoughby | Sep 28, 2005 |
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Originally published in Great Britain as "The Death of Jean Moulin: Biography of a Ghost," by John Murray Publishers, London, 2001.
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Book description
The story of France's iconic Resistance hero, Jean Moulin. He was General DeGaulle's emissary and operated in a secretive and uncertain world. The book explores the possibilities of his betrayal to the Gestapo and death. Although tortured, he never gave up any information. His body was never found.


This work was originally published in Great Britain as The death of Jean Moulin: biography of a ghost, by John Murray (Publishers), London, in 2000

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037550608X, Hardcover)

“Enthralling and intelligent, a masterly exploration of
the sinister labyrinth that was wartime France . . .
It is a remarkable book, utterly fascinating.”
—Allan Massie


Not long after 2:00 p.m. on June 21, 1943, eight men met in secret at a doctor’s house in Lyon. They represented the warring factions of the French Resistance and had been summoned by General de Gaulle’s new envoy, a man most of them knew simply as “Max.”
Minutes after the last man entered the house, the Gestapo broke in, led by Klaus Barbie, the infamous “Butcher of Lyon.” The fate awaiting Barbie’s prisoners was torture, deportation, and death. “Max” was tortured sadistically but never broke: he took his many secrets to his grave. In that moment, the legend of Jean Moulin was born.
Who betrayed Jean Moulin? And who was this enigmatic hero, a man as skilled in deception as he was in acts of heroism? After the war, his ashes were transferred to the Panthéon—France’s highest honor—where his memory is revered alongside that of Voltaire and Victor Hugo. But Moulin’s story is full of unanswered questions: the truth of his life is far more complicated than the legend conveniently manufactured by de Gaulle.
Resistance and Betrayal tells for the first time in English the epic story of France’s greatest war hero, a Schindler-like character of ambiguous motivation. A winner of the Marsh Prize for biography, praised by Graham Greene and Julian Barnes, Patrick Marnham is a brilliant storyteller with a keen appreciation for the complex maze of moral compromises navigated in times of war. Told with the drama and suspense of the best espionage fiction, Resistance and Betrayal brings to life the dark and duplicitous world of the French Resistance and offers a startling conclusion to one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Second World War.

Praise for Patrick Marnham

Fantastic Invasion

“An exhilarating Swiftian excursion into human folly —
a brilliant book.” —Doris Lessing

“A writer afoot with a ruthless vision and armed with a literary style which burns away the surface of what it describes . . .
His main strength lies in his genius as a storyteller.”
—Jonathan Raban

The Man Who Wasn’t Maigret

“I doubt if there will be a better, or better-written, portrait of Simenon for a long time.” —Julian Barnes

“I can confidently say there will never be a better book on this subject. It makes absolutely compulsive reading.”
—A. N. Wilson

“Excellent, penetrating, fully researched and very well written . . . Adds to our understanding not only of Simenon’s art but of
the art of the novel itself.” —Muriel Spark

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Relates the story of Jean Moulin, the enigmatic and mythic hero of the French Resistance, describing his early life, his career during the war, the betrayal that led to his capture by the Nazis, and his heroic death.

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