Book Review: “A Train in Winter” by Caroline Moorhead

Hey there!

We’ve decided to take on a new challenge over the summer. In addition to our regular weekly letters, we will also be taking turns doing book reviews in letter format. We do hope you enjoy them. Happy reading!

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Dear Sherina,

I had been wanting to read “A Train in Winter” by Caroline Moorhead for a few months now, and at the start of summer vacation I was finally able to! Without going into too much detail, the book describes the arrests and concentration camp experiences of women who had been involved with the French Resistance during the Second World War.

The displays of courage and bravery depicted in this nonfiction account are inspiring, as well as a testament of forming bonds deeper than friendship in order to survive. The majority of the women Caroline Moorhead discusses were heavily involved in resisting the Nazi occupation. They did not stand idly by as their situation worsened. These women hid Jews in their homes and helped them cross into Free France, they wrote and distributed anti-Nazi tracts and engineered explosions to derail supply trains intended for the Germans, among other things.

When arrested, many did not cower to their occupiers. They spat, kicked, slapped and screamed in their faces. Often they tried to get the attention of onlookers by shouting and making a big scene. They did not go down without a fight.

While reading their stories, I tried to imagine how I would respond if I had been in their position. Would I have fought and resisted against the Nazis? Or, would I have shut my drapes and hid in my apartment in an attempt to hide until it was all over – continuing my life as normally as possible?

I hope that I would act as the former, however that’s easy for me to say living in the comfort of 21st century North America. Would I have been passive or aggressive towards Hitler’s forces?

When we learn about history, we often think that we, ourselves would be so defiant and brave in the face of oppression and inhumanity.

What do you think?

Ceanray

P.S. Let us know what you think in the comments section below! We welcome your suggestions/feedback. 🙂

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One thought on “Book Review: “A Train in Winter” by Caroline Moorhead

  1. Thanks, Ceanray, for a most interesting review of this wonderful book! I think what struck me so deeply was how these women working for the French Resistance sought to survive in order to tell the story afterwards so the women who died would be honoured and the horror remembered. It is a story of community and how they watched out for each other, hiding the weak and sharing their few resources. I personally think this is still true today. We need to continue to form strong communities and tell our stories, especially the inspiring stories of women that have not always been told.

    It’s great that you’ve drawn attention to this book with your thoughtful reflections.

    Cathie

    Like

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