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The Englishman's Daughter: A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War I
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The Englishman's Daughter: A True Story of Love and Betrayal in World War I

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  201 ratings  ·  32 reviews
In the first terrifying days of World War I, four British soldiers found themselves trapped behind enemy lines on the western front. They were forced to hide in the tiny French village of Villeret, whose inhabitants made the courageous decision to shelter the fugitives until they could pass as Picard peasants.

The Englishmanâs Daughter is the never-before-told story of the
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 4th 2003 by Delta (first published January 12th 2002)
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It is clear this book is written by a journalist rather than a novelist. Wouldn’t you clearly recognize the difference between the words of a novel and those found in a newspaper? A newspaper article relates fact and number and dates. It states the people and places involved. You are told what happens. That is how this book is written. This book is based on official documents, letters, diaries and newspaper articles. Extensive research lies behind its content. The facts related are about the vil ...more
True story of four British soldiers who found themselves lost behind enemy lines in 1914. For two years the villagers of occupied Villeret hid and protected them as best they could, but in 1916, the soldiers were exposed, rounded up and shot. Who betrayed them and why is the mystery Macintyre tries to uncover through extensive research and interviews with the village survivors and descendents, but the real focus of the book is the unrelenting horror of living under German occupation and the amaz ...more
This book is well written and hard to put down. During the early days of the First World War some British soldiers were trapped in France as the battle lines moved. Once the trenches were set, they had to live in occupied France and the village sheltered them and treated them as their own. Until someone in the village betrayed them...

Like I said, this book is hard to put down. Macintyre attempts to solve the mystery and I think his conclusions are sound, despite the many years dividing the even
This haunting, beautiful story of occupied France during World War I reads like a novel, but it actually happened - which makes it even better, if even sadder. It's amazing to think that most Americans of my generation don't ever even remember the Great War much, when it wrought such shocking & horrific devastation to the whole of Europe, but especially, of course, to the parts of France where the vast majority of it took place. The devastation was so intense that it left scars on the land & ...more
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Nancy Kennedy
As Paris correspondent for the London Times, Macintyre went out to report on a meager ceremony in the tiny French village of Villeret commemorating four British soldiers who were executed there by the Germans during World War I. The soldiers had been hidden by the villagers of Villeret for two years.

At the close of the ceremony, an elderly woman in a wheelchair seeks out Macintyre to tell him the story of how seven British soldiers had been protected by the village, three of whom eventually esca
Shonna Froebel
Near the beginning of World War I, many Allied soldiers found themselves behind enemy lines on the western front. This concentrates on four British soldiers that were forced to hide for years in a tiny French village called Villeret. Other soldiers similarly trapped in the area are also touched included, but the author concentrates on these four particularly because he became aware of their story when invited to a memoiral service at their gravesite in the late 1990s. He didn't at first understa ...more
This book is ostensibly the story of an English soldier who falls in love with a French villager in German-occupied France. But it's really an account of life under the draconian regulations of a paranoid and controlling German army major in northern France.

If you're looking for a detailed wartime love story, you're not really going to find it here. The author does a great job in his research but is limited by the fact that the eyewitnesses to (and subjects of) the love story have long since pas
Paula Dembeck
This is a true piece of history but it almost resembles a novel or a mystery.

It takes place in France during World War 1 behind the enemy lines in a small French village located near the Western Font in the Somme River Valley. The villagers in Villeret were under the rule of the occupying Germans and this story unfolds during a period of 18 months during their lives.

The author, a respected journalist for the London Times came upon the story when he was sent to cover a small ceremony in the villa

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic." (Attributed to Joseph Stalin)

While reading MacIntyre's account of one man's fate during World War I, I couldn't help but reflect on the above quote. Truly, it's easier in some ways to accept the deaths of thousands of nameless, faceless individuals than come to terms with the death of single person whose name and face become known to us. It might be argued that the central figure in this book, Robert Digby, died a "good d

I love an interesting story, told well. And Ben Macintyre's book delivers for the most part. A journalistic encounter-turned-project, it relates an episode in World War I in which battle lines shifted so quickly that some British soldiers ended up stranded in German-held territory in occupied France. Macintyre relates their tale, which contains elements of heroism (especially on the part of the resistance), romance and betrayal. Macintyre's research is impressive. He sets the story amid its gory ...more
Chessie Blanchard-zimmerman
The amount of research undertaken to develop this account of an 18 month period during WWI is staggering. The book tells the story of English soldiers,separated from their units, living in an occupied French village near the Western Front. The Englishman, of the title, falls in love with a village girl and fathers a child with her. Their relationship is not necessarily central to the story, which provides a fascinating level of detail about the daily lives and suffering of the villagers and thei ...more
Because this is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, I wanted to read a book about the war. And because I like Ben Macintyre, I chose this book. It was a great choice. Macintyre is fantastic at mixing very personal stories with the big picture. This is my favorite of his books so far (and also the only one that's made me cry).
Margaret Sankey
Macintyre reconstructs an affecting microhistory of WWI, in which four English soldiers got trapped behind the lines in 1914 and were sheltered by the French villagers of Villeret in a collective act of solidarity and defiance, with Private Robert Digby hiding in plain sight as a popular local and romancing a local belle. Fast-forward three years, after German occupation had straightened circumstances and Digby's marriage and child with his French sweetheart had ignited local resentment, and an ...more
Jane Sprouse
This was obviously well researched and well written. It not only was a beautiful love story in a time of war, but presented a lot of information about how devastating WWI was, and still was a lovely mystery too.
In his introduction the author tells how he came upon the story. Part of the book discusses the various war actions occurring in that small area of France where the incident took place. This book tells of the attitudes of the villagers to German Occupation and the British soldiers in their midst. In the latter part of the book is a description of what the Germans did to the area as they retreated behind the Seigfried line. It is that part that provides a partial explanation for the French insist ...more
This book is a solidly good read of a fascinating and true story. The book's dryness was the only thing detracting from it. The author told the story very factually and I would have appreciated more emotion given the drama of the story. However, this issue got a little better towards the end when the author attempts to discover the betrayer. The book does a great job describing what conditions were like in the trenches and in occupied France during World War I which was good since I want to lear ...more
Will Biby
ABsolutely fascinating. This book was very insightful into life behind enemy lines in WWI.
While I love discovering little-known human stories about European war-time, this true tale from France in World War I can be a bit slow. The author is a reporter and therefore writes more in journalistic style than a novelist. Still, the details he provides about daily life in some of the hardest hit French villages of WWI are worth the pace.
Ben MacIntyre's writing style is very easy to read. Great description of rural life in France behind the German line in WW I. The complete and utter horror of the war is obvious, yet the characters are very human and real. After reading this book and Agent Zigzag by MacIntyre, I want to read each book he has written.
Very interesting true story filled with details of World War I in France which I was
not aware of before. The author's telling of this story and his search for answers
to the mystery of the betrayal is compelling. I am glad to have read this book on
many levels.
aka A Foreign Field (in UK market)

That the author is a journalist shone through, but it is well researched, moving and certain sections really brought home the absolute carnage that took place in WWI.
Tried reading this historical piece about English soldiers hidden by a small French village and then given up to the Germans during WW1, but didn't get very far. Too much detail, not enough movement.
I learned a lot about WWI from reading this. History is presented in a very interesting way with a little bit of crime scene analysis. Maps included for those like me with geography deficits.
Sabrina Flynn
I'm not usually one for non-fiction, but I really enjoyed this book. It's full of intimate detail about the Great War and adds a personal view to what transpired in occupied France.
Sometimes real life stories are better than fiction...this account certainly fits the bill. A fascinating tale of love and conflict in France during the first world war.
Karen  Fiandaca
Fascinating story - having just finished Fall of Giants i was a little up to my ears in WWI but this being a true story it was more compelling....
I think this book took me so long because of it's subject matter. I find WWI increasingly heartbreaking. I wept through this one.
Aug 21, 2013 Chris added it
Shelves: bookclub
I need to re-read this. I thought it was great when our bookclub read it—the suspense of fiction with the weight of a true story.
VERY well-researched, which made it a little hard to get into. But overall an interesting (and true) story.
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Ben Macintyre is an author, historian and columnist writing for The Times newspaper. His columns range from current affairs to historical controversies.

In July 2006, Macintyre wrote an article in The Times entitled "How wiki-wiki can get sticky", criticising the limitations of Wikipedia. He cited the self-regulation system as inadequate when literally "anyone" could add supposed "facts" to Wikipe
More about Ben Macintyre...
Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief

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