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The Giraffe Has a Long Neck.

For the benefit of his grandchildren, Jacques Poirier has written this detailed, often amusing and frequently exciting account of his activities in France from 1940 when he and some friends began their embryonic resistance on the Cote d'Azure. In mid-1942, he met Henri Peuleve, an English officer of the SOE, who had broken his leg on parachuting near Nimes. This encounter brought him into contact with the British organisation which was 'fanning the flames of resistance'. He fitted in so well with Peuleve that he was asked to accompany him back to England for training. Thus they set out across the Pyrenees for a stint in Miranda del Ebro before being separately extracted by the British Embassy in Madrid.

After his period of UK training, Harry Peuleve who had gone back into the Dordogne sent for Jacques. But disaster struck when Harry was arrested and Jacques took over. Later, he was somewhat surprised when his father, a Colonel in the French Air Force, who had been compromised in another part of France, came to join his 'Reseau'. The rest of the book relates in exciting detail not only his own activities but also those of Peter Lake, Cyril Watney, George Hiller and Andre Malraux with whom he worked closely. It is a pity that a young man called Abrahams, who recently appeared on a BBC programme to marginalise the role of French Resistance, did not take the trouble to read this book or indeed the many others which record in stark detail just how much was achieved by hundreds of brave, patriotic, ordinary French men and women.

It is little wonder, although a great surprise to the author, that this book in 1993 won the Prix Foch (the History Prize of the Academie Francaise) and the Prix Litteraire of the Academie de Bordeaux.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Contemporary Review Company Ltd.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Lee, Peter
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 1996
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