The New York Times

A Forgotten Leader of the French Resistance

MARIE-MADELEINE FOURCADE FACED MANY OBSTACLES IN HER BATTLES AGAINST THE NAZIS.

“Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler"By Lynne OlsonIllustrated. 428 pages. Random House. $30.

Why have most of us never heard of ? Why is her name missing from the honor roll of war heroes carved into thousands of monuments in hundreds of French village squares? Might the fact that this hero — the leader of one of France’s most successful anti-Nazi resistance organizations — was not a hero, but a heroine have something to do with her absence from history? There is reason to believe so. At the end of World War II, the triumphant Gen. Charles de Gaulle designated 1,038 people as resistance heroes. Only six of those heroes were women, and Fourcade, who ran the longest-running spy network, corrects that historical injustice. Marie-Madeleine Fourcade emerges as a vivid and pivotal player in the French Resistance.

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