Scholars of Mayhem: My Father’s Secret War in Nazi-Occupied France

Penguin. Jun. 2019. 272p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780735225206. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780735225213. HIST
To first-time author Guiet, accompanied here by journalist Smith, his father’s wartime service was not only a mystery, it was classified top secret until the end of the 20th century. As a 19-year-old French-born American and native French speaker, Jean Claude Guiet left Harvard to fight in World War II. He became part of a four-person secret British special operations team, code-named Operation Salesman, that parachuted into occupied France to supply and organize French Resistance groups. Their job was to wreak maximum havoc on German forces, and his team included Violette Szabo, who was caught and killed by the Nazis and posthumously awarded the George Cross and Croix du Guerre. The extreme danger encountered by and courage required of the young team members is evoked through stories recounted by Jean Claude Guiet and Bob Maloubier, the other surviving member of the team, when they reunited 50 years after the liberation of France. Recently declassified documents add detail to a fascinating historical narrative.
VERDICT Guiet’s tribute to his father’s remarkable life will appeal to readers interested in World War II history and the American OSS and British SOE wartime spy agencies. [See Prepub Alert, 12/6/18.]

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