Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis

Algonquin. Nov. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781616209162. $27.95. HIST
For fans of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and LGBTQ+ history, here is a based-in-truth account of a pair of heroes who defied the Nazis and faced violence and death in their efforts to resist occupation. Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe were a romantic pair who had a colorful past that included spending time with some prominent figures of the 1920s Parisian art scene, which heavily influenced their later actions. In this fast-paced narrative, Jackson (history, Rhodes Coll.; Paris Under Water) focuses on the postwar writings of the people involved, as well as on official reports from Nazi authorities who dealt with them. While the first part deals in some amount of speculation on the author’s part, piecing together stories of other subversive actors on the Channel Islands and those who knew the women, the latter half is rooted in primary documents and spotlights these unsung heroes of the Nazi resistance. Well-chosen photographs help place the women and their lives in context.
VERDICT This is a satisfying contribution to World War II scholarship, highlighting a sophisticated, cultured, and still grassroots resistance effort. Recommended for public libraries.
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