Scholars of Mayhem: My Father's Secret War in Nazi-Occupied France



Scholars of Mayhem: My Father's Secret War in Nazi-Occupied FranceThe Astonishing Untold Story Of The Author S Father, The Lone American On A 4 Person SOE Commando Team Dropped Behind German Lines In France, Whose Epic Feats Of Irregular Warfare Proved Vital In Keeping Nazi Tanks Away From Normandy After D Day.When Daniel Guiet Was A Child And His Family Moved Country, As They Frequently Did, His Father Had One Possession, A Tin Bread Box, That Always Made The Trip Daniel Was Admonished Never To Touch The Box, But One Day He Couldn T Resist What He Found Astonished Him A.45 Automatic And Five Full Clips Three Slim Knives A Length Of Wire With A Wooden Handle At Each End Thin Pieces Of Paper With Random Numbers On Them Several Passports With His Father S Photograph, Each Bearing A Different Name And A Large Silk Square With Eight Flags, With A Message Underneath Each Flag In The Language Corresponding To It The One In English Read I Am An American Help Me You Will Be Well Paid Eventually Jean Claude Guiet Revealed To His Family That He Had Been In The CIA, But It Was Only At The Very End Of His Life That He Spoke Of The Mission During World War II That Marked The Beginning Of His Career In Clandestine Service It Is One Of The Last Great Untold Stories Of The War, And Daniel Guiet And His Collaborator, The Writer Tim Smith, Have Spent Several Years Bringing It To Life Jean Claude Was An American Citizen But A Child Of France, And Fluent In The Language He Was Also Extremely Bright The American Military Was On The Lookout For Native French Speakers To Be Seconded To A Secret British Special Operations Commando Operation, Dropping Saboteurs Behind German Lines In France To Coordinate Aid To The French Resistance And Lead Missions Wreaking Havoc On Germany S Military Efforts Across The Entire Country Jean Claude Was Recruited, And His Life Was Changed Forever Though The Human Cost Was Terrible, The Mission Succeeded Beyond The Allies Wildest DreamsScholars Of Mayhem Tells The Story Of Jean Claude And The Other Three Agents In His Circuit, Codenamed Salesman, A Unit Of Britain S Special Operations Executive, The Secret Service Ordered By Churchill To Set Europe Ablaze Parachuted Into France The Day After D Day, The Salesman Team Organized, Armed, And Commanded A Ghostly Army Of 10,000 French Resistance Fighters National Pride Has Kept The Story Of SOE In France Obscure, But Of This There Is No Doubt While The Resistance Had Plenty Of Heart, It Was SOE That Gave It Teeth And Claws Scholars Of Mayhem Adds Brilliantly To That Picture, And Further Underscores What A Close Run Thing The Success Of The Allied Breakout From The Normandy Landings Actually Was.

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  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • Scholars of Mayhem: My Father's Secret War in Nazi-Occupied France
  • Daniel C. Guiet
  • English
  • 21 November 2017
  • 9780735225206

10 thoughts on “Scholars of Mayhem: My Father's Secret War in Nazi-Occupied France

  1. Peter A says:

    This book, co written by the son, tells the story of Jean Claude Guiet during his days preparing for and serving in a team of Special Operations Executive commandos in German occupied France right after D Day The team consisted of four members Philippe Liewer, Violette Szabo about whom there is a book and a movie Carve Her Name with Pride , Bob Maloubier, and Jen Claude Guiet The story is told simply, yet at times conveys the tension of nearly being caught by the enemy or absorbed in a fire fight between the French maquisards and Germans And at times, with some of the characters, their descriptions of the adventures almost feel like they are understating the danger they were in As noted below, this understatement of accomplishments may be an attributed of the Greatest Generation.The story is told in three phases the first roughly sets up the story of the other team members the second talks about Jean Claude and his training and preparation for the special mission and the final section on the operation, named Salesman II, which was intended to slow movement of German troupes from the south of France to Normandy by recruiting, organizing, arming and directly local French maquisards to disrupt the German operations The epilogue talks of what happened after the Salesman operation The contribution of this book is to bring forward the story of people who agreed to put their lives at risk for a greater cause Normally, the life of the commando behind enemy lines, especially the radio expert, was about three weeks Capture by the Germans very likely led to death And those experiences, are often never told, both because of the agreements made and because at that age, the horrors of war were not shared An uncle of mine never talked about his experiences in the European theater As a disclaimer, I received an advanced copy of this book to read because an editor at Penguin read my review of Sonia Purnell s A Woman of No Importance about Virginia Hall It is hard to avoid comparison between the stories, since both Virginia Hall and Jean Claude Guiet served in SOE operations, and later CIA, both served in the center of France, one in around Lyon, one in around Limoges Virginia Hall s story covers of her life, and how she overcame physical disabilities and gender biases, and how she was in France twice As for Jean Claude s story, what is amazing is that his son learned about this when his father was quite old, and what a revelation that must have been Based on the epilogue, there is still to told about Jean Claude s life, and his strong stances on certain issues such as gender equity and the Vietnam war Finally, both Virginia Hall and Jean Claude Guiet were forever modest or silent about the roles they played in the Second World War, that Greatest Generation , named by Tom Brokaw s book of that title.As a final note, the Scholars of Mayhem does include interesting sections that add context about the war These were very appreciated.

  2. Steve says:

    An excellent as well as an interesting book I enjoy reading about World War II spies and this one as well as the others was great The author s father, Jean Claude Guiet was a American citizen, but born in France He was recruited by the British SOE to set up operations behind enemy lines in France before the D Day invasion This book tells of the training and well as the weapons used by the SOE such as daggers and the Welrod pistol, specialized with a silencer for close quarters Many of the agents, were captured and tortured as well as imprisoned Many were executed This has been a great book and tells of the risks and courage of those who served in the SOE and other spy and guerrilla agencies in World War II.

  3. Milo Geyelin says:

    This is first rate reporting, historical reconstruction and writing It s a remarkable story, terrifically and lovingly told I can t recommend it highly enough.

  4. Joop Debruin says:

    I grew up next door to a couple, he was an American and she was French Both were Jews I knew he was originally in the OSS, and parachuted behind enemy lines into France, and that s where he met her However as I got older and learn history there were still some questions that I had about facts not lining up Not to say their sons lied about anything, but it didn t match what I was learning about the OSS This book clearly shows that they were both involved in the COE In fact, I went back to check her obituary from a few years ago, and it stated that her family moved to England to escape the Nazis, and made no mention of her behind the scenes activities I m pretty sure that I never heard about her living in England at any point Hence the COE tie in and clarification of a few bits that I didn t understand.

  5. Richard Santos says:

    We will never run out of amazing World War II stories Ever Daniel Guiet wrote an exciting, personal book about his father who as a covert agent for Churchill s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare played a key role in helping organize the French Resistance Although, in some ways, his father s life after WWII weird CIA stuff, odd defense contractor jobs, resisting the Vietnam War is just as compelling I interviewed the author here

  6. Max says:

    Jean Claude Guiet is a real life super hero How could a 20 year old American go behind enemy lines during the D Day invasion and help defeat the Nazi occupation in France He did and with no recognition, from the France or the United States An astonishing story about the infancy of the CIA then the OSS and how these brave men and women served because it was the right thing to do.

  7. Pamela says:

    I won this book from the Goodreads giveaway Scholars of Mayhem tells the story of Jean Claude, an agent in France during WWII I found it very educational This is a part of history I knew little about There are so few WWII veterans alive and I think it is important to hear their stories and have them preserved in history for the future.

  8. PWRL says:

    SM

  9. Susan& says:

    This book was interesting in that it covered something I d never read about before However, it bogged down in places I don t think I would have missed out on much by not reading it.

  10. Robert Mund says:

    Always prefer true stories and this has the intrigue of a spy novel but at times gets bogged down in to much detail of which i have no interest

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