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Review | Avenue of Spies

avenue of spies

Before reading Avenue of Spies, I had never heard of the author, Alex Kershaw. Now that I’ve finished this book, I will definitely be checking into his other books. Avenue of Spies is one of the better WWII true life accounts that I’ve read. Of course, I am a pretty big fan of WWII books altogether. However, there were a few reasons why I consider this book to be one of the better reads.

First of all, the book centers around a little-known couple (the American Dr. Sumner Jackson and his French wife Charlotte Sylvie Barrelet de Ricou, “Toquette”), and their son Phillip, who made their home on the Avenue Foch in 1940s Paris, France. As the Nazis invade, the Jackson family decides to stay in Paris, forfeiting any remaining chance to escape back to America with their fellow compatriots, and secretly help the Allies wherever possible. Their gesture of bravery is heightened all the more by the fact that their street is the headquarters of the Gestapo… complete with a complex of interrogation and torture centers, and crawling with enemy spies. And I do love a good spy story. To avoid spoilers, I’ll say no more.

Second, although the book contains an account of the Jacksons’ and others’ experiences in Nazi concentration camps, it does not go into the level of gory detail that many similar books do. Basic torture techniques are mentioned (i.e. beatings, removal of fingernails, food and water deprivation), and worse things are hinted at, but not described. I really appreciated this fact, since the point of the book was not to describe a lot of horror, but to tell the story of a brave family who did what was right in the face of extreme evil and inhumanity.

Third, the author does an excellent job of detailing the disintegration of power within the ranks of the Nazi party as the final days of the Reich drew to an end. There’s a clear message for thoughtful readers on the folly of desiring and pursuing the power and luxury of evil men by aiding them in their evil.

Lastly, this book is just the right length for a two-day read (if you’re a fast reader like me). It’s a good one-week read for a slower (or busier) reader.


Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for this review.

books · good reads

Good Reads | July ’15

the-second-mayflower-book in-the-secret-service-book chess-book twelve-unlikely-heroes-books

  • The Second Mayflower: I’ve heard Kevin Swanson speak countless times at conferences and have loved all his talks. So, I’ve been slowly making my way through his books. This book took a bit of time to finish due to the fact that his talks and this book are just about the same. Basically there really wasn’t anything new in this book for me, but I’m including it in this month’s favorites as it contains very insightful material. If you are concerned about the direction America is headed, wonder how it all came to be this way, and want to do your part to turn the tide, this is a great book to read.
  • In the Secret Service: This was an interesting read about one of the Secret Service men who was present at the assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan. It tells his story in full and gives a great inside look at what it takes to be a Secret Service agent.
  • Chess: From First Moves to Checkmate: Believe it or not, I’m in my mid-twenties I do not know how to play chess. Not something I’m particularly proud about, which is why I read this book. I found it to be very easy to understand and quite informative. Whether you are looking to learn chess or just want to increase your skills, this would be a great read.
  • Twelve Unlikely Heroes: It’s not often that a book makes it to my favorite list or stays on my shelf just because of one chapter, but this one did. While I enjoyed the whole book, the chapter on Jonathan was just wow!! I have always enjoyed reading about the friendship David and Jonathan shared, but this book put it in a whole new light and made it all the more precious. I just may have cried a little at the incredible example of godliness and faithfulness exemplified by Jonathan. If you ever get the chance, read this chapter, even if you can’t read the whole book.