"A Nazi resistance story like none you've ever heard or read." --Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and On Desperate Ground "Every page is gripping, and the amount of new research is nothing short of mind-boggling. A brilliant book for the ages!" --Douglas Brinkley, author of American Moonshot
A Stonewall Honor Book in Nonfiction
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Paper Bullets
is the first book to tell the history of an audacious anti-Nazi campaign undertaken by an unlikely pair: two French women, Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe, who drew on their skills as Parisian avant-garde artists to write and distribute "paper bullets"--wicked insults against Hitler, calls to rebel, and subversive fictional dialogues designed to demoralize Nazi troops occupying their adopted home on the British Channel Island of Jersey. Devising their own PSYOPS campaign, they slipped their notes into soldier's pockets or tucked them inside newsstand magazines.
Hunted by the secret field police, Lucy and Suzanne were finally betrayed in 1944, when the Germans imprisoned them, and tried them in a court martial, sentencing them to death for their actions. Ultimately they survived, but even in jail, they continued to fight the Nazis by reaching out to other prisoners and spreading a message of hope.
Better remembered today by their artist names, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, the couple's actions were even more courageous because of who they were: lesbian partners known for cross-dressing and creating the kind of gender-bending work that the Nazis would come to call "degenerate art." In addition, Lucy was half Jewish, and they had communist affiliations in Paris, where they attended political rallies with Surrealists and socialized with artists like Gertrude Stein. Paper Bullets
is a compelling World War II story that has not been told before, about the galvanizing power of art, and of resistance.
"This is a Nazi resistance story like none you've ever heard or read, a story with two unlikely heroines who risked their lives in their subversive--and often wildly creative--struggle to face down evil. Paper Bullets prompts us to explore the boundaries of art, love, gender, and politics--and to question the true meaning of courage."
--Hampton Sides, bestselling author of In the Kingdom of Ice and On Desperate Ground
"Every page is gripping, and the amount of new research is nothing short of mindboggling. A brilliant book for the ages!" --Douglas Brinkley, Rice University Professor and bestselling author of American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race
"Riveting. Breaks new ground in our understanding of collaboration and resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe and the impact of women in wartime. A must-read for anyone interested in World War II, resistance, women's history, or the defense of democratic ideals during times of tyranny and oppression." --Michael D. Bess, Vanderbilt University Professor and author of Choices Under Fire
"A gripping story. The lesbian couple Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe deployed their intellectual capacities and peacetime experience in dissembling their identities to challenge the German occupiers with artistic 'paper bullets.' The contest between the baffled Nazis and the crafty traitors animates this historical thriller."
--Bonnie G. Smith, author of Women In World History