A Train In Winter: An Extraordinary Story Of Women, Friendship And Survival In World War Two

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A Train In Winter: An Extraordinary Story Of Women, Friendship And Survival In World War Two

by Caroline Moorehead

Random House Of Canada | April 10, 2012 | Trade Paperback

A Train In Winter: An Extraordinary Story Of Women, Friendship And Survival In World War Two is rated 4.4167 out of 5 by 12.

On an icy morning in Paris in January 1943, 230 French women resisters were rounded up from the Gestapo detention camps and sent on a train to Auschwitz--the only train, in the four years of German occupation, to take women of the Resistance to a death camp. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15, the eldest a farmer''s wife of 68; among them were teachers, biochemists, salesgirls, secretaries, housewives and university lecturers. Six of the women were still alive in 2010 and able to tell their stories of the great affection and camaraderie that took hold among the group. They became friends, and it was precisely this friendship that kept so many of them alive.
     Drawing on interviews with survivors and their families, on German, French and Polish archives, and on documents held by WW2 resistance organisations, A Train in Winter covers a harrowing part of history that is, ultimately, a portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and endurance, and of the particular qualities of female friendship.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.17 × 6.1 × 1.03 in

Published: April 10, 2012

Publisher: Random House Of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307356957

ISBN - 13: 9780307356956

Found in: History

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shocking and eye opening I am about 3/4 through the book and have a hard time putting it down. I was expecting a "story" type read and this is a history type book , but oh, so worth the read. Even though it does not give graphic details you get a very good sense of what is happening. It is hard to believe any human being could be that cruel or that anyone could survive the treatment. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in history of WWII.
Date published: 2014-09-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a great book to read ! I finished reading the book a week ago and it's still haunting me. The first part of the book was a bit confusing with many names and places. The second part however got more interesting and heartwrenching. I couldn't put down the book. It is a really good book.
Date published: 2014-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a train in winter I have not read the book.It sounded very interesting so I bought it for my sister for her birthday coming up
Date published: 2014-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Train in Winter I bought this book along with four others and I have just finished reading the first four books and have just started A Train in Winter. From the first introductory page, it got my attention and I know that I am going to find this a very good read. That is important to be "grabbed" right at the beginning because you know you are not going to put the book aside. I am going to read it and enjoy it.
Date published: 2014-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional Reality This book was amazing. Very emotional and lots of sadness throughout, but if you're looking for a true account of what happened to many women (and men) during the Holocaust through a vivid and courageous narrative then please read this book. I am so glad I did.
Date published: 2014-05-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great history of the French Resistance The young people who fought back when the Nazis and the Vichy took over France, tells a tale of bravery and the belief in freedom for all, is astounding. This is a book filled with history and the back ground of each women in this situation; it does tend to be very full of facts that some might find 'non essential', please do not think so - one must have the background in order to understand the reason behind why these women did what they did. This is a book many should be reading to better understand what happened during this period in time, as the saying goes, 'history has a tendency to repeat itself', so take what you learn from this book and put it into today's issues, there are similarities. I enjoyed the book - it is not one that you can read all at once, but to be digested and mulled over as you learn the why's, what and how humans can both be courageous and cruel to each other.
Date published: 2014-04-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Nothing like the books description. I did not enjoy this book at all. I was expecting an uplifting story about courageous women; but instead got a history lesson and SO many names it boggled my mind and I gave up trying to keep them all straight.
Date published: 2014-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible To Stacygemma, it is disturbing in as much as one finds it incredible that another human being is capable of so much insensitivity and cruelty to another human being. The detail is not gratuitous but enough necessary detail not to leave one wondering how horrid things were. What prevails in ones mind is more admiration for the women than the cruelty of their captures. I hope you decide to read it.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible A most harrowing tale about life in the death camps during WWII. It is rare to find such an eloquently 'first hand' portrayal of what life was really like. About a truly inspiring group of women, who showed such courage under such awful conditions and circumstances. It portrays how circumstances created by war can bring out the very best and the very worst in people. An incredibly well written piece of work. It left me disturbed by the treatment of the guards and yet so moved and inspired by the women.
Date published: 2014-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye Opening Although the first part of the book is hard to get into, it becomes an amazing account of strong women who endured such heartache and unbelievable torture during World War II and lived to tell about it. It will educate you about the horrors of war. I had no idea that so many countries and so many women were affected so deeply. It will make you truly grateful for your life. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2012-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read I loved this book from the beginning. I never realized this went on in France and that france worked with the Nazi's in the 2nd workd war. I do not know how these women had the strength to live thru the hardships and the killings they seen. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Date published: 2012-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A life changing read It's the story of French women, most who worked for, or were accused of working for the Resistance during the Nazi occupation during World War II. They were all imprisoned and locked in cattle cars on trains to Auschwitz. There experiences are told in vivid detail, and of the 230 women imprisoned in the Nazi extermination camp, only 49 made it home alive. It seems amazing that even that many women survived because it seems like death was around every corner. There was a constant risk of being sent to the gas chambers, being beaten by SS guards or mauled by their dogs, disease, unsanitary conditions, and the constant danger posed by lack of food and water as well as the lack of clothing to protect against the brutal elements. The frienships between them all was there one saving grace. While imprisoned they helped each other to survive by not only supporting each other, but by sharing there small amounts of food, water and medicine, as well as hiding the sick who would have been sent to the gas chambers. This is the story of unbearable suffering, but also of unbelievable bravery. The one part I found most informative was the description of the women's life after their release from the camps at the end of the war. Their painful experiences continued even when home. A lot of people were not interested in their stories, or downright disbelieved them because they couldn't fathom how they could have survived those conditions. There was little support and most suffered from many physical and emotional ailments for the rest of their lives. They were given very little recognition for the parts they played in the Resistance, most of the awards and recognition given to the surviving men. France was more concerned about how they looked politically etc, not taking responsibility or wanting to admit culpability. Jewish people were still treated horribly as well for a long time after the war was over. Many of the survivors felt like parts of themselves had died and been left in Aushwitz. I will never forget the stories of these women, and of the many other men and women who experienced the same. I only hope that a lesson was learned and such a travesty as those concentration camps is never repeated. May both the dead and the survivors find some peace. .
Date published: 2012-02-07

– More About This Product –

A Train In Winter: An Extraordinary Story Of Women, Friendship And Survival In World War Two

by Caroline Moorehead

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.17 × 6.1 × 1.03 in

Published: April 10, 2012

Publisher: Random House Of Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307356957

ISBN - 13: 9780307356956

From the Publisher

On an icy morning in Paris in January 1943, 230 French women resisters were rounded up from the Gestapo detention camps and sent on a train to Auschwitz--the only train, in the four years of German occupation, to take women of the Resistance to a death camp. The youngest was a schoolgirl of 15, the eldest a farmer''s wife of 68; among them were teachers, biochemists, salesgirls, secretaries, housewives and university lecturers. Six of the women were still alive in 2010 and able to tell their stories of the great affection and camaraderie that took hold among the group. They became friends, and it was precisely this friendship that kept so many of them alive.
     Drawing on interviews with survivors and their families, on German, French and Polish archives, and on documents held by WW2 resistance organisations, A Train in Winter covers a harrowing part of history that is, ultimately, a portrait of ordinary people, of bravery and endurance, and of the particular qualities of female friendship.

About the Author

CAROLINE MOOREHEAD is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo and Martha Gellhorn. Well known for her work in human rights, she has published a history of the Red Cross and a book about refugees, Human Cargo, and her most recent book is Dancing to the Precipice, a biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin. The author lives in London and Italy.

Editorial Reviews

"A harrowing but also uplifting shared story of friendship, courage and endurance." The Independent
"By turns heartbreaking and inspiring." The New York Times Book Review
"Compassionate, meticulous and compulsively enthralling.... Essential reading." Daily Mail
"A tale of how female friendship ''can make the difference between living and dying.''" The Sunday Times
"A pitch-perfect study of human depravity, and of the heroism it can inspire." The Economist

Bookclub Guide

1. What is the importance of women’s friendship in A Train in Winter? How is it shown, what forms does it take, and what difference does it make to the lives of the women described in the book?

2. How has this book changed your view of World War Two, the French Resistance, the role of women in wartime, or the Holocaust, or another subject discussed in the book?

3. Caroline Moorehead takes care in the book to tell individual stories. Which of these had the greatest impact on you while reading the book, and why?

4. What motives for the women’s resistance work are presented in A Train in Winter? Are their reasons the same as those of men?

5. What will you remember about A Train in Winter?

6. If you could ask one of the survivors of the Convoi des 31000 a question about her experiences, what would it be?

7. Why do you think the history discussed in A Train in Winter was buried for so long?

8. What do you think was behind “attentisme” – holding on, waiting, doing nothing – the initial French reaction to the Occupation?

9. The women of the Convoi des 31000 longed to come home from the camps – but then those few who did so found their return to be sometimes impossibly hard. Why was this the case?

10. What lessons should we learn from A Train in Winter?

11. What role did the Communist Party play in the French Resistance? How were perspectives on it altered, first by the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, and then by the German invasion of the Soviet Union?

12. Debate the issue of French collaboration with the Nazi authorities as it is described in the book. What do you think you would do, if you were placed in some of the situations Caroline Moorehead describes?

13. What do you make of the turn in recent historical writing to “microhistories” of individual moments and stories, rather than grand abstract narratives? Which kind of historical writing do you prefer, and why?

14. If you could invite Caroline Moorehead to your book club discussion, what would you like to ask her about A Train in Winter, and why?

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