Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War

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Random House Publishing Group, Feb 6, 2018 - History - 576 pages
A groundbreaking account of how Britain became the base of operations for the exiled leaders of Europe in their desperate struggle to reclaim their continent from Hitler, from the New York Times bestselling author of Citizens of London and Those Angry Days

When the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over continental Europe in the early days of World War II, the city of London became a refuge for the governments and armed forces of six occupied nations who escaped there to continue the fight. So, too, did General Charles de Gaulle, the self-appointed representative of free France.

As the only European democracy still holding out against Hitler, Britain became known to occupied countries as "Last Hope Island." Getting there, one young emigré declared, was "like getting to heaven."

In this epic, character-driven narrative, acclaimed historian Lynne Olson takes us back to those perilous days when the British and their European guests joined forces to combat the mightiest military force in history. Here we meet the courageous King Haakon of Norway, whose distinctive "H7" monogram became a symbol of his country's resistance to Nazi rule, and his fiery Dutch counterpart, Queen Wilhelmina, whose antifascist radio broadcasts rallied the spirits of her defeated people. Here, too, is the Earl of Suffolk, a swashbuckling British aristocrat whose rescue of two nuclear physicists from France helped make the Manhattan Project possible.

Last Hope Island also recounts some of the Europeans' heretofore unsung exploits that helped tilt the balance against the Axis: the crucial efforts of Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain; the vital role played by French and Polish code breakers in cracking the Germans' reputedly indecipherable Enigma code; and the flood of top-secret intelligence about German operations--gathered by spies throughout occupied Europe--that helped ensure the success of the 1944 Allied invasion.

A fascinating companion to Citizens of London, Olson's bestselling chronicle of the Anglo-American alliance, Last Hope Island recalls with vivid humanity that brief moment in time when the peoples of Europe stood together in their effort to roll back the tide of conquest and restore order to a broken continent.

Praise for Last Hope Island

"In Last Hope Island [Lynne Olson] argues an arresting new thesis: that the people of occupied Europe and the expatriate leaders did far more for their own liberation than historians and the public alike recognize. . . . The scale of the organization she describes is breathtaking."--The New York Times Book Review

"Last Hope Island is a book to be welcomed, both for the past it recovers and also, quite simply, for being such a pleasant tome to read."--The Washington Post

"[A] pointed volume . . . [Olson] tells a great story and has a fine eye for character."--The Boston Globe
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MickyFine - www.librarything.com

A fantastically written history of WWII that focuses on six European nations whose governments were forced into exile in Britain. Olson makes a chunky and complex history compulsively readable and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - breic - LibraryThing

A poor, shallow history of how during World War II governments and fighters from conquered European countries fled to Britain and fought from there against Germany. I don't know why I finished it, it ... Read full review

Contents

An Avalanche of Vs
128
Io Spying on the Nazis
143
Mad Hatters Tea Party
167
Factions Feuds and Infighting
179
Rich and Poor Relations
205
The Ugly Reality
227
The England Game
244
Be More Careful Next Time
264
The Poor Little English Donkey
329
2I Settling the Score
340
A Tale of Two Cities 3 54
355
The Hunger Winter
399
There Was Never a Happier Day
417
Why Are You Crying Young Man?
437
The World Could Not Possibly Be the Same
453
AUIHORS N0LE
477

Heroism Beyond Anything I Can Tell You
287
A Giant Jigsaw Puzzle
303
A Formidable Secret Army
317
BIBLIOGRAPHY
517
Copyright

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About the author (2018)

Lynne Olson is the New York Times bestselling author of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941 and Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour. Among her five other books is Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.

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