The Cross of Lorraine – eBook


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From the pageantry of Adolf Hitlers Olympic Games to the triumph of Charles de Gaulles entry into Paris, The Cross of Lorraine carries us back to the dark days of Frances occupation. Here we meet the villains, the martyrs, and the heroes of the French Resistance – itself a frail child born from the ashes of bitter defeat.The Cross of Lorraine is a novel that tells the story of the Resistance as seen through the eyes of two Americans, one an Olympic athlete, the other an expatriated wine merchant. They are not alone.Since no country ever expects to lose a war or to be subsequently occupied, no network of underground agents is ever in place to carry on the battle for freedom. Such was certainly the case in France in June of 1940. No one anticipated that the mighty French army would fold before the attacking Boche. No one had plans for how to exist after German soldiers marched into Paris. No one knew how devastating defeat at the hands of a madman eager for revenge could be.Consequently, when Charles de Gaulle coined the phrase resistance, he was speaking only figuratively. Once the armies surrendered, no official agencies remained to resist the might of the oppressor. The Germans themselves marveled at the ease with which they marched into the city. They found no fortified defenses around its perimeter, no barricades denying access, and no signs of protest. In fact, the streets stood abandoned, even as the spirit of the population stood bereft of hope. The nation had lost its heroes. No Napoleon, no Talleyrand, no Marshall Foch seemed ready to step forward and save the day.As of June 1940, Samantha James was merely an exchange student; Henri Hebert, a novice wine merchant; Jeanine Arnout, an ethnographer with the Museum of Man in Paris; Phillip Price, a foreign service officer; Dominique de Mieville, a rail worker in the yards of St. Lazare, and Jean-Lucien Poch, a quiet country boy. None of them had thoughts of becoming militant resisters.Though the seeds of resistance may have been planted in the humiliation of the French surrender, it had not yet germinated. But in time, it would grow and flourish in the hearts of those who found oppression untenable. It took root in the silence of those who feigned ignorance despite their fluency in German when asked how to find the Eiffel Tower. It sprouted in the directions that sent members of the Wehrmacht on goose chases when they wanted to tour Notre Dame. It blossomed in the shadows as one mechanic asked another to help sabotage the engine of a German staff car. It ripened into severed telephone lines and demolished railroad tracks. Finally, it would flourish in the heat of German reprisals that slaughtered innocent hostages tenfold for every act of treason or nationalism.Each person had to wrestle with his or her own conscience and come to the decision to take a stand, but the French never knew whom they could trust. Friends had been known to betray friends, sometimes unintentionally. Yet there had to come a day when someone would enlist another in resisting in some fashion that best suited a particular talent. A few stepped forward boldly and paid the price. Others followed, their steps timid and uncertain, but they did come, and the movement grew. This novel tells the story of just a few.The years of occupation would call men and women to step forward who would have otherwise lived quiet lives studying ancient cultures, switching commuter trains through mazes of iron grid puzzles, or making money buying and selling the produce of the land. These years of their youth would be forever lost. Men and women would spill their tears and their blood, but these frail, yet strong human beings would still find time to love and to laugh.Within the pages of this novel, we see very normal human beings doing extraordinary things; and yet they still find time to live and laugh and love.


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