As Hitler’s Blitzkrieg vanquished one European country after another in the chaos-filled spring of 1940, and the United States and the Soviet Union were still on the sidelines, London suddenly found itself the de facto capital of Europe, a haven for Europe’s struggling governments in exile: Holland, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Belgium, Poland and France. Last Hope Island is the stirring story of these conquered states and citizens as they pooled their efforts to help Britain survive the German onslaught, joining the RAF, bolstering their home countries’ resistance movements with British help, and using their considerable talents as code breakers, weapon designers and double agents. It will be the first book to focus on the extensive contributions made by all the captive nations of Europe to the Allied victory.
New York Times–bestselling author Olson will highlight this untold WWII story with a cast of colourful international characters, much as she did to such great effect in her 2010 book, Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood With Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour. Last Hope Island is, in many ways, the natural follow-up to Citizens, which told the story of the Anglo-American partnership in World War II from the viewpoint of three prominent Americans in London. A notable success, Citizens has sold 115,000 copies in all formats and continues to sell well four years after its publication. In addition to being a book club favorite, it’s been touted by a number of prominent figures in the public eye, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tom Brokaw, and Madeleine Albright, who has described Olson as ‘our era’s foremost chronicler of World War II politics and diplomacy.’ Sir Peter Westmacott, British ambassador to the U.S., and Matthew Barzun, American ambassador to Britain, both have written about Citizens and have made speeches recommending it.
‘You wouldn’t think that there would still be untold tales about World War II, but Lynne Olson, a master of that period of history, has found some. Not only does she narrate them with her usual verve, but her book reminds us how much we unthinkingly assume that it was the United States and Britain alone who defeated the Nazis in Western Europe. Last Hope Island is a valuable, and immensely readable, corrective.’
Adam Hochschild, author of Spain in Our Hearts and King Leopold’s Ghost