A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France is about the 200 women who worked for the French Resistance during the Holocaust and were taken to concentration camps. The author interviewed the women who were still alive in 2009 and they told her the stories of the other people. It is also contextualized with how the greater politics of the time influenced their lives before and after their capture.
The major and really only problem with this book is that it is written in a hive-mind way where the story of the woman being told changes almost at random and it cuts back to the same person at random as well. This is problematic because it becomes hard to remember who is who, especially when several of the women have similar names.
However, overall it is a well researched book and it is apparent that the author has a lot of respect for the women involved. It also captures the horror and heartbreak of the Holocaust and I cried several times. Also there were a few women who were much more identifiable so you can get into their story instead of just reading it for education. Finally there is the horror at the end of the book where several of the women who survived were severely depressed and had tremendous survivor’s guilt, showing that even though people survive tragedy it doesn’t mean that they can get over it. The book also talks about why people collaborated with the Nazis and turned on their neighbors, citing personal grievances, monetary gain and a fear of communism. This is important because from a modern perspective it is hard to imagine why someone would willingly help them and it helps contextualize the danger that the people were in. Namely that a neighbor who doesn’t like you could turn you in and there was nothing you could do about it.
Overall it is a great book to read if you want to learn about human tragedy, the Nazi occupation of France or the Holocaust in general.
Review Submitted by: Madeline Rivard
Rating: Highly Recommended