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Last Hope Island


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About the Author

Lynne Olson is the former White House correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. In addition to 2010's Citizens of London, she is most recently the author of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's fight over WWII 1939-1941. She is also the author of Troublesome Young Men: the rebels who brought Churchill to power and helped save England and Freedom's Daughters: the unsung heroines of the civil rights movement from 1830 to 1970, and is a co-author of two other books.


`For a year, between the fall of France and the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the men and women of the seven countries of occupied Europe were Britain's only non-colonial allies. For them Britain was the only hope. The nature of that unbalanced relationship, so crucial to the postwar future of the Continent, is the subject of this fascinating, uplifting and at times horrifying book ... A complex narrative of need and desperation, tales of almost unimaginable courage, brilliant improvisation, fantastic stupidity and vile treachery ... Exciting and informative.'

-- David Aaronovitch * The Times *

`[An] excellent book ... [Olson] acknowledges that British bravery and determination were the only things that gave Europe hope during the darkest days of the war. Europeans have always been grateful for this, and continue to be so today. We British have not always shown the same sense of gratitude. Olson's message is simple: when it comes to the Second World War at least, we should give credit where credit is due.'

-- Keith Lowe * The Mail on Sunday *

`[Olson's] clear-eyed prose challenges popular myths about Britain's "finest hour" ... Although it is a brick of a book with a daunting number of subjects, it skips along, focusing on the vibrant personalities and their extraordinary stories ... the lasting interest of Last Hope Island is its cool reckoning of history, away from the heat of bombs and battles.'

* The Guardian *

`Uplifting ... a gripping story.'

-- Harold Evans * The Week *

`Lynne Olson is a master story teller, and she brings her great gifts to this riveting narrative of the Resistance to Hitler's war machine. You will be thrilled and moved - and enraged, saddened and shocked - by the courage and steadfastness, human waste and stupidity, carelessness and nobility of an epic struggle. Last Hope Island is a smashing good tale.'

-- Evan Thomas, author of Sea of Thunder and Being Nixon

`Exhilarating and epic.'

* The Mail on Sunday *

`You wouldn't think that there would still be untold tales about World War II, but Lynne Olson, a master of that period of history, has found some. Not only does she narrate them with her usual verve, but her book reminds us how much we unthinkingly assume that it was the United States and Britain alone who defeated the Nazis in Western Europe. Last Hope Island is a valuable, and immensely readable, corrective.'

-- Adam Hochschild, author of Spain in Our Hearts and King Leopold's Ghost

`In Last Hope Island [Olson] argues an arresting new thesis: that the people of occupied Europe and their expatriate leaders did far more for their own liberation than historians and the public recognise ... She is persuasive in dramatizing great deeds done and then forgotten.'

* The Scotsman *

`This is Olson's fourth book dealing with Britain and World War II, but in Last Hope Island she argues an arresting new thesis: that the people of occupied Europe and the expatriate leaders did far more for their own liberation than historians and the public alike recognize. Books and films have dramatized individual stories of the resistance, but the scale of the organization she describes is breathtaking ... Olson's histories have well honored Britain's heroism. In Last Hope Island, she justifies her toast to the exiles and their compatriots.'

* The New York Times Book Review *

`Lynne Olson is one of the best popular historians now living and writing.'

-- Peter Hitchens * MailOnline *

`Spellbinding ...[A] masterful account of England in World War II ... [Olson] brings both a journalist's eye and a novelist's command of character and setting to this subject ... For American readers inclined to begin their World War II reading after U.S. entry into the conflict, Last Hope Island opens a fascinating trove of stories, characters and facts ... Olson's book, 10 years in the making, not only helps illuminate the past but also serves as an insightful backdrop for today's discussion of the future of 21st-century European alliances.'

* Bookpage, 'Top Pick' *

`Bestselling historian Olson writes a vivid history of the war through the eyes of the exiles and compatriots left behind. She reveals inspiring tales of heroism, suffering, and sacrifice ... [and] delivers an engrossing, sometimes-disturbing account of their energetic efforts.'

* Kirkus Reviews *

`Lynne Olson's gifts as a storyteller, combined with her ability to find exciting new aspects of World War II to write about, give Last Hope Island the page-turning power of a great novel. . . . Olson writes so vividly that the past seems like the present, and she has a way of connecting what happened in an earlier time to our contemporary concerns.'

* Connecticut Post *

`This is a history book that reads like the best thrillers ... Olson offers a fascinating view of the war and its aftermath, less from a military than from a high-level civilian perspective ... The many individuals are finely drawn, major developments are well covered, and the book provides an unusual and very insightful angle on the war.'

* Booklist (starred review) *

`A rip-roaring saga of hair-breadth escape, espionage, and resistance during World War II - Olson's Last Hope Island salvages the forgotten stories of a collection of heroic souls from seven countries overrun by Hitler, who find refuge in Churchill's London and then seek payback in ways large and small. In thrilling fashion, Olson shows us that hell hath no fury like a small country scorned.'

* Erik Larson *

`In a series of compelling books in recent years, Lynne Olson has established herself as an authoritative and entertaining chronicler of perhaps the largest single event in human history-the Second World War. Now comes Last Hope Island, a powerful and surprising account of how figures from Nazi-occupied Europe found Great Britain an essential shield and sword in the struggle against Hitler. This is a wonderful work of history, told in Olson's trademark style.'

-- Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion

`[A] pointed volume . . . [Olson] tells a great story and has a fine eye for character.'

* The Boston Globe *

`The wealth of evidence [Olson] presents, and the verve with which she tells her stories, many not widely known, is a necessary antidote to the myths with which we all live.'

* Financial Times *

`Last Hope Island is a great read, packed with the stories of very colourful characters ... highly recommended.'

* Military History Monthly *

`[S]uperb account.'

* The Mail on Sunday *

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