i had only read five pages of this book when i knew i had to have my own copy. it was so good!
genre: nonfictional, historical short story
synopsis: an intriguing look at the various activities of the resistance movement in occupied denmark
setting: denmark, 1940-1945
what i liked: for a fairly small book, lampe packed a ton of information about the danish resistance. while i knew they had managed to save over 98% of their jewish countrymen and -women, i didn’t realize how uncoordinated an effort it was, which makes it even more remarkable. danes engaged in some of the most surreal acts of resistance – like a naval pilot who in the early days of the occupation bought a plane and determined to escape by flying it to england, taking off in full view and earshot of german soldiers. their resistance was small – individuals who sabotaged products they made for the germans, the postman who threw away letters to the gestapo that he suspected to be from informers – and large – there were groups that systematically blew up factories and air hangars, decimated the rail system, snuck nearly every danish tug in copenhagen out of the harbor to sweden, and created an intricate network of illegal newspapers.
why i would recommend it even if you’re not usually enthralled by history: the chapters are written colloquially and easy to digest. plus, they’re short, and chapters don’t build on one another since they all focus on one story (with one exception that i remember, which stretches over two).
like many people, i love a good underdog story, and i spent a lot of the book cheering the danish resistance on in their efforts to win back their country.
what i didn’t like: there were some typos, which was odd to me because this book is not a first edition, so i would have expected the publishers to have caught and corrected those already.
also – and this is minor but it is something i consider as a historian – this book was originally published in 1957, so i would like to find some more recent scholarship to see what new information has been found (or can finally be shared).
final thoughts: this was so good. like for such a time, it’s a new favorite, and i plan to buy a copy of my own as soon as possible!