Trustees' book recommendations
From Professor Rod Kedward, Honorary Life President of the Charity: Riviera Dreaming: Love and War on the Côte d'Azur by Maureen Emerson.
In 1926 Barry Dierks, a young American architect, arrived in Paris and fell in love with France... With his partner, an ex-officer in the British Army, he built a white, flat-roofed Modernist masterpiece that rested on the rocks below the Esterel, with views across the Mediterranean. They called it Le Trident. From the moment it was built, it captivated the Riviera. As commissions for more villas flooded in, Barry Dierks and Eric Sawyer, "those two charmers", flourished at the heart of Riviera society. Over the years, Dierks would design and build over 70 of the Riviera's most recognisable villas for clients ranging from Somerset Maugham's Villa Mauresque and Jack Warner's Villa Aujourd'hui to the Marquess of Cholmondeley's Villa Le Roc, and Maxine Elliott's Chateau de l'Horizon, later the home of Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth. Riviera Dreaming tells the dazzling story of the lives, loves and adventures that played out behind the walls of these glamorous houses and provides an unparalleled portrait of life on the Cote d'Azur at the height of the Jazz Age.
Also from Rod: Today Sardines Are Not for Sale: A Street Protest in Occupied Paris by Paula Schwartz.
On Mother's Day, 31 May 1942, a group of women stormed a small grocery store at the intersection of two Parisian market streets, the rue de Buci and the rue de Seine, to protest the food shortages that had become a chronic feature of daily life. The then-outlawed French Communist party aimed to channel the frustrations of hungry Parisians by organizing such actions throughout the capital and beyond. The so-called "women's demonstration on the rue de Buci" was one such protest, part of a larger, overarching resistance movement against the collaborationist Vichy regime and the German occupiers. The Buci affair became a cause célèbre, in no small part owing to its tragic consequences: the imprisonment, deportation, and execution of some of the protagonists. This book takes an in-depth look at this singular event, its dramatic repercussions, and its rich postwar afterlife. An extraordinary documentary record, together with the oral testimony of surviving resisters, reveal the minute intricacies of an underground partisan operation; the lives and deaths of the protesters, both women and men; the deployment of gender difference as a weapon of war, and the ways in which the incident has been remembered, commemorated, or forgotten.
From Trustee Paul McCue: The Clandestine Lives of Colonel David Smiley: Code Name 'Grin' by Clive Jones.
Drawing on extensive interviews and archival research, this biography uncovers the motivations and ideals that informed Smiley's commitment to covert action and intelligence during the Second World War (including service with SOE) and early part of the Cold War, often among tribally based societies. With particular reference to operations in Albania, Oman and Yemen, it addresses the wider issues of accountability and control of clandestine operations.
Smiley was the 4th and youngest son of Sir John Smiley, 2nd Baronet and Valerie Champion de Crespigny, He was educated at the Nautical College, Pangbourne, Berkshire, England, where he was a noted sportsman. He attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in 1934, and was commissioned into the Royal Horse Guards in 1936. After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Smiley's regiment sailed for Palestine, where one of his first jobs was to shoot his troop of forty horses when it became clear they were of no use in modern combat.
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