Little cyclone, by Airey Neave (used, hardcover)
1954, first edition
"A true story of extraordinary bravery, betrayal, tragedy and triumph."—The Daily Telegraph
On a hot afternoon in August 1941, a twenty-four-year-old Belgian woman walked into the British consulate in Bilbao, neutral Spain, and demanded to see the consul. She presented him with a British soldier she had smuggled all the way from Brussels, through occupied France and over the Pyrenees. It is a journey she will make countless times thereafter, at unthinkable danger to her own life.
Her name is Andrée de Jongh, though she will come to be known as the "Little Cyclone" in deference to her extraordinary courage and tenacity. She is an inspiration. From nursing wounded Allied servicemen, de Jongh would go on to establish the Comet Line, the most famous escape line of the Second World War, one that saved the lives of more than eight hundred airmen and soldiers stranded behind enemy lines. The risks, however, would be enormous, the cost, unspeakably tragic.
Her story is shot through with the constant terror of discovery and interception—of late night knocks at the door, of disastrous moonlit river crossings, Gestapo infiltrators, firing squads and concentration camps. It is also a classic true story of fear overcome by giddying bravery.
Airey Neave served as an intelligence agent for MI9 in World War Two before later becoming Member of Parliament for Abingdon. The author of several highly acclaimed books on the Second World War, he died in 1979 in an IRA a car-bomb attack at the House of Commons.
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