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Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille
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Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  12 reviews
France, 1940. The once glittering boulevards of Paris teem with spies, collaborators, and the Gestapo now that France has fallen to Hitler's Wermacht. For André Breton, Max Ernst, Victor Serge, Marc Chagall, Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry, Remedios Varo, Benjamin Péret, and scores of other cultural elite denounced as enemies of the Third Reich, fear and uncertainty define daily ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Harper (first published 2006)
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This book was loaned to me by my father-in-law who is a huge WWII buff. I keep swearing off the genre, and then run across something fascinating like this one. I haven't actually read very much about relief efforts in Vichy France, so this book contained a lot of information that was new to me. The author did in-depth research and was able to provide a really complete picture of the many players in this drama. I found the philosophical underpinnings of the war to be very well explained. It was a ...more
Sep 23, 2013 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
An incredible story! An American refugee organization in Marseilles tries for years to get Jewish, communist and other Nazi-targeted refugees out of the country. Varian Fy is at the center of a coterie of artists, intellectuals and adventurers who congregate at the Villa Air-Bel while waiting for visas, exit permists and money orders to arrive. Tales of everyday heroism, of incredible humanity and pluck, and of the slow erosion of French culture under the Vichy regime. A very poignant read.
Carrie R
There are so many stories that have come out of the atrocities and trials of World War II- most of them we will never hear about or read about it. This book is the story of one American's attempt (successful most of the time) to save some of the great artists and intellects who were trapped in German-occupied France & considered enemies of the Nazi regime.
Angel Serrano
En la Francia ocupada de la II Guerra Mundial, un joven americano luchará por facilitar la huida de los intelectuales alemanes, judíos y europeos en general en peligro de ser deportados al régimen nazi. Escrito como un documental, el libro es un alegato por la libertad.
I really found this book fascinating. This is the story about Varian Fry and his operations in Marseille during the era of the Vichy regime. The book does a great job at describing the setting, and the story had me sitting on the edge of my chair.
Impeccably well researched, and engaging like a novel while sticking to the facts as they were. Awesome book.
Interesting. Another story about the atrocities, but not as graphic, during the Nazi regime...
Why I decided to read this book:

I decided to read this book because World War II interests me as well as art also I needed to read a book for a book that teaches me about another time in history.

Which category on the bingo board does this book complete:

A book that teaches you about another time in history.

What I liked about this book and why:

I liked how it gives you a really well described view on what happened during WWII from many different perspectives, also I learnt sides of history that I p
This book was very well written, and well researched. The author clearly had investigated the story thoroughly, and found a lesser-known holocaust story to tell. I have read a lot of books about the holocaust and learned a lot from this book about some of the famous artists and Varian Fry.
Jan 14, 2010 Diana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs
Slightly choppy & confusing at the beginning due to the vast number of people being written about. Well researched & interesting to anyone with an interest in WWII, France & the artists & writers of that period
Very interesting to learn about wartime France.

Well written but hard to follow all the characters and the seemingly hap-hazard timing.
Feb 22, 2010 Lu marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii, france
WWII France
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