Madame Fourcade’s Secret War
By Lynne Olson
Published by Scribe
RRP $45.00 in hardback • ISBN 9781925849301
At age 31, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, a young woman born to privilege and renowned for her elegance, became the leader of a Resistance network – Alliance – encompassing some three thousand agents in German-occupied France.
She was the only woman to head such an organisation, a unique achievement in what was a deeply patriarchal society.
It’s worth noting that Fourcade’s network was focused on espionage rather than sabotage or providing escape routes.
The information her network provided was vital to the Allied cause.
Among the intelligence coups were the reports of Jeannie Rousseau, a young Parisienne recruited to the Alliance, on the development of the V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets.
It was while writing Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War that author Lynne Olson first encountered Fourcade and wondered at her relative obscurity, despite the outstanding contribution she had made to the French Resistance.
That she had been overlooked because she was female is the only explanation.
Though so many of her agents died defending their country, Fourcade survived the occupation.
Olson has written a lively and compelling account of a woman who deserves to be remembered and honoured.