The Life of SOE Agent Harry Peulevé
Harry Peulevé was one of the most remarkable secret agents of the Second World War. A former BBC cameraman, he was deeply traumatised by his experiences during the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. Determined to erase the humiliation he felt after the fall of France, Harry joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE), a British secret service sending agents behind enemy lines to stir up resistance and 'set Europe ablaze'.
Parachuting into France in 1942 he broke a leg on landing but made an amazing escape back to London, crossing the Pyrenees on crutches and later breaking out of a Spanish jail. He fell in love with SOE heroine Violette Szabo but volunteered for a second mission, to lead a secret army of resistance fighters and sabotage enemy targets across south-western France. Given away by an informer, he remained silent under dreadful torture before being deported to Germany with Violette, both destined for extermination in concentration camps.
In one of the most extraordinary escapes of the war, Harry narrowly avoided execution by making a pact with an infamous Nazi doctor. Disguised as a French prisoner, he would endure months in a punishment camp before making another daring escape to reach the American lines and discover Violette's fate.
Drawing on Peulevé's unpublished memoirs and written with the support of his family, Nigel Perrin's Spirit of Resistance is the moving story of one of SOE's truly legendary characters.
Quite simply the most outstanding study of a special forces hero to appear in years
Eastern Daily Press
Anyone who wants to understand why and how so many apparently ordinary people displayed such extraordinary courage and determination should read Perrin's book
Times Literary Supplement
Makes James Bond look like an also-ran
Arresting reading...an engaging and useful work
Journal of Military History