Resistance: A Woman's Journal of Struggle and Defiance in Occupied France by Agnes Humbert
Translated by Barbara Mellor
Pages: 270 + 100pgs of extraneous material (Afterward, index, etc.)
Finished: Oct. 20
First Published: 1946, 1st English translation Sept. 2, 2008
Genre: memoir, WWII
Reason for Reading: I received a Review Copy from the publisher, Bloomsbury USA.
Rumours are flying, all flatly contradictory, but it seems clear that the Germans are advancing on all fronts.
Comments: Originally published in 1946, Agnes Humbert's journal became the most quoted source on the early days of French Resistance. Though being quoted frequently the book soon became obsolete and obscure obtainable only by academia. Republished in France in 2004, the book was finally translated into English this year, 2008.
The first and last sections of the book are taken directly from Ms. Humbert's day to day diary. Here we are told of her experiences as the Germans occupy France and how she and her colleagues started the first outright resistance to the occupation. We are also told the day to day reflections of the days after France were liberated and the part she played in helping to separate the chafe from the wheat where the German citizens were concerned.
The bulk of the journal was written almost immediately after the war and while not being an actual day to day journal it is a very closely remembered memoir of her German trial and sentencing as a political prisoner sent to Hard Labour camps and prisons, starting in France and eventually moving to Germany.
This is a fabulous book, full of atrocities and monstrous behaviour by human beings but also shows the determination of one woman and those who surround her of keeping their dignity and holding their heads high as they are degraded each and every day.