Saturday, 16 March 2019
Book Review: The Escape Line, Megan Koreman
In her excellent book The Escape Line, American author Megan Koreman tells the story of Dutch Paris, an escape line, or rather lines, set up and run by Dutchman in France, Jean (or Johann) Weidner. It's a fascinating and exciting account. Indeed, I'd say there's a good film or two in there somewhere.
I've chosen to put my fuller review on my other blog, at sebpalmer.com, as it's not quite purely military history. Read it here if you're interested. I was expecting it to be a chore. But far from it. It proved to be a compelling page turner. Geographically the escape line ran, from its original hub in Lyon, where Weidner had a textiles business, northeast into Switzerland, southwest into Spain, and north, through occupied France to Belgium and Holland.
The colourful cast include civil servants, clergy, businessmen, housewives, girlfriends and widows, soldiers and paramilitaries, Allied troops and the SS and Gestapo, local passeurs, or guides, and refugees in alien lands. Normally law-abiding citizens become denizens of the underworld, and the authorities become the violators of decency. Ordinary people do extraordinary things, both good and bad, in extraordinary times.
Definitely a recommended read to those who might find such things of interest. And interesting also in the light of the current climate, with Brexit, Trump and his Wall, and the general climate around national identity, immigration, and suchlike.