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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Writtten and Researched Book Showing Just What True Courage Is, 6 Nov 2009
Immediately after the war there appered many books about the S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive), especially in France. These were mainly books of great "derring-do" which gave a flavour of a saboteurs life behind enemy lines but which, in many cases, rather exaggerated the individual's own contribution and importance.

In 1966 the official history of S.O.E. in France was published and a whole new raft of agents such as Harry Peuleve and Francis Cammaerts, were brought into the public domain. Harry Peuleve's first mention was of how in 1942 he was dropped by parachute far too low and sustained multiple fractures of his leg, rendering him useless for clandestine operations. Despite his injuries he still managed to make his escape back to England (after imprisonment in Spain) by crossing the Pyrenees. After recovery and recuperation he returned to duty in France.

It gives little away to say that he was eventually betrayed to the Germans and ended up in Buchenwald from which he eventually escaped returning to the Allied lines with two SS prisoners!!

It is entirely characteristic of this man that he did not seek to profit from his experiences in war. The book was written many years after his death and is based on Harry Peuleve's own unpublished memoirs together with the memories of his family, friends, and others involved in clandestine warfare, together with official sources. Unlike those books written shortly after the war this (and Francis Cammaert's story) continues into peacetime re-adjustment. Suffice to say that up to the time of his death in 1963 he was still experiencing nightmares of his time in Buchenwald and there was the likelihood that he was using alcohol increasingly to enable him to cope with his psychological trauma. He died alone aged 47 in a hotel bedroom in Spain where he had just arrived on business. Bravery clearly came at a price for Harry Peuleve, and demonstrates the reality of what that over-used diagnosis, P.T.S.D. (post-traumatic stress disorder) really is all about.

This book is well-written and will hold your attention. I would find it difficult to believe that anybody could read this book without an increasing respect for Harry Peuleve's courage and determination which for me is entirely humbling.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit of resistance:The life of SOE Agent Harry Peuleve DSO MC, 15 Aug 2010
Harry Peuleve was one of the many brave SOE Agents who parachuted into German Occupied France in order to recruit, train and lead the fledgling French Resistance. From the start his mission was blighted when he badly fractured his leg after a diffcult landing. Without medical asisstance and with German security forces aware that agents were landing, Harry ordered the French Partisans(French Resistance Fighters) to leave him and make good their own escape.
Meanwhile Harry, realising that he could not fulfill his mission and following numerous problems headed to Spain and crossed the Pyrenees in the Winter with the assistance of a pair of walking sticks only to be captured by Franco's facists and sent to Jail. Undaunted he eventually escaped and returned to UK some 6 months later. Harry volunteered for a 2nd mission and returned to Occupied France. He established teams of French Maquis Resistence to harass the Germans, in this he demonstrated outstanding gallantry and leadership in an engagement with some 400 well armed germans killing some 50 of them before making his escape. Soon after this engagement he was captured and brutally tortured by the Gestapo at Avenue Foch in Paris. He was sent to Buchenwald Concentration Lager and in a bizzare situation during an attack by Allied Aircraft on the train taking him to the Lager, he was reunited with a British Agent who was a good friend, Mrs Violette Szabo, whom Harry had met in London. Violette had similarly been harshly treated when captured and was was assiting other prisoners on the train by handing out water to the starving and thirsty souls held in terrible conditions at the hight of a hot summer, Harry marvelled at her poise and courage despite his own privations, alas he never saw her again as Violette was ulitamtly executed at Ravensbruck Concentration Lager only days before the camp was liberated by the Russian army. John Davidson.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The title tells you all., 19 Sep 2009
For a first book, I cannot praise the author more for the research done on this little known hero.
A wonderful story with all the background of the war in France and the political background in UK. Harry was a man of true grit but I felt he was overwhelmed by his experiences so much that he did not speak of them..as many of his generation.
Nearly too late, he wrote them down and passed them on.
Although he went on to have another Career after the war he was obviously haunted by WW11.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a secret hero, 31 Mar 2010
Harry Peuleve lived, as many of SOE, a secret war, a secret life with elements of sadness and massive courage. Nigel Perrin brings to light the remarkable life of this unsung beacon of SOE. This fascinating biography joins the growing number of life studies of underground world of the secret agent in the second world war. There was no glory or glamour. It was survival at all costs. For Peuleve, it was a close run thing and ultimately although a survivor, he died after the war rather young. His DSO MC was thoroughly earned. We need more biographies like this, it joins the amazing lives of Odette Churchill, Violette Szabo, Noor Inayat Kahn and Christine Glanville.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible journey, 24 April 2014
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This review is from: Spirit of Resistance: The Life of SOE Agent Harry Peulevé, DSO MC (Kindle Edition)
How these people physically and mentally managed living from day to day, never knowing if it would be their last and knowing that being caught would end in torture and eventual death.

This is not just a book about Harry Peuleve but of many others who did and didn't make it. Having read many books about WW11 and SOE there are interesting cross overs of stories and other agents he worked with where I have read about some of the same connections from the others perspective. Even if you don't normally read non-fiction this reads as a great story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit of Resistance, 3 Mar 2014
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I knew Harry Peuleve well during the last four years of his life.
Nigel Perrin's book is the most thorough and accurate account yet written of this
selfless man's outstanding courage throughout WW2. He was a very modest man,
much-loved by all who knew him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very brave man, 30 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Spirit of Resistance: The Life of SOE Agent Harry Peulevé, DSO MC (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book as i knew very little about this man! He was based in an area of France i know well so i was very interested. It is a very well written book although the proliferation of names lost me at times. Having read a great deal about Violette Szabo his friend and co agent in SOE i was particularly keen to find out about Harry.The descriptions of Buchenwald and the tortures he endured are particularly moving.Along with Francis Cammaertes and Yeo Thomas he must be one of the bravest! How sad that De Gaulle refused to honour these men after the war.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRUE HERO, 4 Mar 2009
A MAN WHO IS A HERO IN THE PROPER SENSE OF THE WORD. A GREAT BRITAN, A GREAT MAN. HIS NAME SHOULD BE KNOWN TO ALOT MORE PEOPLE
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