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A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry
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A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  43 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
The story of Varian Fry, called the "real Rick" of Casablanca, is perhaps one of the most unknown, yet extraordinary sagas of World War II. This penetrating biography follows Varian Fry through his adult life--from his beginnings in the 1930s as a Harvard graduate and political journalist to his arrival in Marseille in 1940 where he managed to spirit away thousands of Euro ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 13th 2000 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1999)
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Mar 03, 2016 Kay rated it it was amazing
“Like the first bird note of a gloomy morning, a rumor ran though the cafés of the Vieux Port and Canebière. It was said that an American had arrived with the funds and the will to help.”

So the Czech writer Hans Nanotek, a desperate fugitive from the Nazis, described the arrival of Varian Fry in Marseilles in 1940. Fry’s mission to rescue key cultural and political figures wanted by the Nazis was a daring and improbable one, and Fry himself was an unlikely hero. But as this excellent account
Jan 27, 2012 Brenna rated it liked it
Shelves: history
(More like 3.5 stars) Very interesting story. Acceptable writing. Fry is a very unlikely hero. Not the guy you would picture to be risking his life rescuing intellectuals, artists, novelists and scientists from the Nazi's but that's precisely what makes him so compelling. A normal, reserved and rather intellectual figure who unexpectedly finds himself the leader of an underground rescue movement. And he rises to the occassion. The times make the man. He becomes absorbed into his work at high cos ...more
Nov 14, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it
Fantastically written and a moving story. This country owes so much to the contributions of people who've come to this country, whether welcomed or more often than not, weren't. Admittedly, I am biased about this time period as it seems our country was at its worst, but also its best. Varian Fry was probably destined to be just another average American, but through selflessness and conviction, helped save so many people who without his help, would have almost assuredly died at the hands of Hitle ...more
Jun 27, 2013 John rated it did not like it
Started off very good, but quickly descended into a mish-mash of names and dates with no clear narrative. The subject was fascinating, but the execution was so poor it was hard to read. Very disappointed.
Jul 08, 2014 Marion rated it it was amazing
this is very dense, very compelling non-fiction
Sep 18, 2012 lisa_emily rated it really liked it
02/09/98 New Republic article by Alfred Kazin
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