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Gardens of Stone: My Boyhood in the French Resistance Hardcover – 14 Feb 2013
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Remarkable...extraordinary. (Libby Purves, BBC Radio 4 Midweek)
A heart breaking, beautifully crafted true story of courage, loss, loneliness and the reality of what it meant to fight the Occupation. (Kate Mosse, author of CITADEL)
This is not only a remarkable coming of age story, it is also one of the finest memoirs of the war I have ever read. Stephen Grady brilliantly conveys the journey from childhood adventure to a far more sinister world where the threat of betrayal and torture lurks at every turn. At turns profoundly moving and grippingly tense, this book, like The Railway Man and First Light before it, deserves to become a classic. (James Holland, author of HELLFIRE)
An extraordinary memoir of the journey to manhood unfolding against a backdrop of terror, destruction and stark tragedy. At times charmingly whimsical, at times almost unbearably poignant, Gardens of Stone is the best book I have read about the struggle of seventy years ago - and its haunting legacy - bar none. (Colonel Tim Collins)
His heroism is of the very real kind...vividly recreates , in a simple and unadorned style, life under Nazi occupation. (Sunday Times)
Stephen Grady has made his authorial debut at the age of 87 with a book that is thrilling, honest, funny and sad. (Spectator)
British schoolboys doubtless have quite different fantasies nowadays, but for much of the last century most of them liked to imagine themselves leading their friends in guerrilla warfare against the German army. Stephen Grady is probably unique in having lived the fantasy, an experience he recalls in Gardens of Stone. Now he has made his authorial debut at the age of 87 with a book that is thrilling, honest, funny and sad. (Spectator)
This terrifying and utterly gripping account. (Daily Mail)
An extraordinary French Resistance wartime memoir, combining the best kind of adventure story with a coming of age testimony of unforgettable resonance and poignancy.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Mr Grady is clearly someone special and I should have liked just a bit more of the post 1947 account to round off a wonderful read. John McNeill. A 4 star read.
To an extent it is like a 'boys own' story, but the reality of the terror that lies behind most of the tales is clear in the writing. Quite extraordinary how one so young was singled out for leadership, without his having any inkling at the outset of his own capabilities.
There are also some excellent examples of how less can be quite often better than more, and some humour in Stephen's clever translations between French Resistance fighters and English and American fugitives, just to maintain the entente cordiale.
Not usually a very quick reader but went through this in no time unfortunately.
The book is enjoyable to begin with as Stephen's "Just William type escapades show him to be a fearless and devil may care young lad.All too shortly after a short but brutal spell in prison those same characteristics lead him to success in more serious ventures and having to grow up very,very quickly.
The book is searingly honest and Stephen Grady dosn't pull any punches.He admits that his actions cost the lives of many innocent people as the Nazis carried out vicious reprisals to actions that on reflection he sees as pointless gestures.He's also scathing about the number of "heroes" that miraculously when appeared hostilities had ceased,people he knew had subserviently kept a low profile,probably sensibly it has to be said ,as the Nazis strutted around their streets suddenly had tales to tell of their supposed heroic actions.To paraphrase he comments,"suddenly everyone had been in the Resistance".
A really good book well written and I'm glad that a "forgotten hero" has lived to see his bravery recognised,as well as that of the man who inspired him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Came very quickly so great service, I can't tell you about the book as it was a present but apparently it's very interesting and well written.Published 4 months ago by C. Robins
This is a very, very moving memoir, told in the first person. For me, it was a real page-turner & I couldn't put it down. This young man was only 16 when his exploits began. Read morePublished 7 months ago by A. Bosch
cried like a baby towards the end, i wished this book could have gone for ever, that good. the bestPublished 11 months ago by andrew carlin
A most interesting true account of boyhood during the occupation of France in WW2. It concerns a young lad who helped his British father to tend war graves (Gardens of Stone) but... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Many veterans of cataclysmic events such as WW2 find it hard if not impossible to share the memories of their fight until very late on in life when the burden of so much trauma... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
A truly inspiring person and found it difficult to put down this bookPublished 14 months ago by Adrian and Sue
Probably the best autobiography I have ever read. Before you die, read this book. It will make you realise how lucky we all are, and just how far human courage takes a man. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Arran Dodge
It was a most interesting and somewhat sobering read, I think everyone should read it, it gave me a real insight into the complexity and tragedy of a country overrun by an... Read morePublished 16 months ago by jan mangles
Not as good as I had hoped. Stephen takes over the job from his English father of looking after war graves as his father hides from being deported to work in Germany. Read morePublished 17 months ago by skipperboy
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