Review – Avenue of Spies by Alex Kershaw

Avenue of Spies is the intriguing story of a family of Americans who lived in Paris almost literally under the noses of the Nazis during the occupation in World War 2. The eponymous avenue is Avenue Foch, which before the war was home to many wealthy residents, whose houses were taken over by the Nazis.

It is the story of the bravery of the Jackson family – including Dr Sumner Jackson who was chief surgeon at the American hospital before the war, and who stayed on after the occupation; his wife Toquette, who was French, and their son Phillip.

I have read a lot of non-fiction books covering the events of the second world war, but I can’t recall coming across a book which covered the stories of those who endured their country being occupied by the Nazis. Perhaps this is a failing on my part, but as far as stories go, this one is almost unbelievable in the audacity of those who were involved.

While the story can drag a little early on, the author is really working his way into the subject, and it helps to build the backstory of the family, and the events that made them the strong-willed people they were. The book has shades of a regular spy thriller, with all of the tragedy that befell so many during the second world war.

An excellent read for anyone with an interest in history, and learning more about the personal stories of what occurred.

4/5 stars

Avenue of Spies

Avenue of Spies

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