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When the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over continental Europe in the early days of World War II, the city of London became a refuge for the governments and armed forces of six occupied nations who escaped there to continue the fight. As the only European democracy still holding out against Hitler, Britain became known to occupied countries as "Last Hope Island." Getting there, one young emigré declared, was "like getting to heaven."
Lifting the curtain on a previously unexplored subject, Last Hope Island takes us back to those perilous days when the British and their European guests joined forces to combat the mightiest military force in history. Here we meet the courageous King Haakon of Norway, whose distinctive "H7" monogram became a symbol of his country's resistance to Nazi rule, and his fiery Dutch counterpart, Queen Wilhelmina, whose antifascist radio broadcasts rallied the spirits of her defeated people and General Charles de Gaulle, the self-appointed representative of free France. Here, too, is the Earl of Suffolk, a swashbuckling British aristocrat whose rescue of two nuclear physicists from France helped make the Manhattan Project possible.
Last Hope Island also recounts some of the Europeans' heretofore unsung exploits that helped tilt the balance against the Axis: the crucial efforts of Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain; the vital role played by French and Polish code breakers in cracking the Germans' reputedly indecipherable Enigma code; and the flood of top-secret intelligence about German operations - gathered by spies throughout occupied Europe - that helped insure the success of the 1944 Allied invasion.
Lynne Olson, former White House correspondent for The Baltimore Sun, is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Those Angry Days, the New York Times bestseller and New York Times Notable Book, Citizens of London and Troublesome Young Men.
TIME & DATE
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 7:00pm