Book Review: So Close to Freedom: A World War II Story of Peril and Betrayal in the Pyrenees


by Jean-Luc E. Cartron

Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019. Pp. xxx, 210+. Illus., maps., chron., gloss., appends., notes, biblio., index. $29.95. ISBN: 1640121021

Escaping the Reich

There are quite a number of accounts of Allied prisoners-of-war, Jews, Resistance fighters, and the other fugitives from the Nazi horror successfully escaping into Spain with the aid of the French Resistance. In So Close to Freedom, Prof. Cartron (New Mexico), a biologist who earlier penned a biography of the role his grandfather played in the Resistance, gives us something different

Cartron’s book does not end well. He tells the story of how the effort by two parties of Allied airmen and some others to escape France, aided by the Resistance ended tragically. Betrayed by supposed friends, most of the men and women in both parties were captured, and in many cases suffered grievous punishment.

Cartron weaves into his account an overview of the work of several “escape line” groups, showing how they were organized and operated. There also profiles of many of the Resistants and escapees, and some often gripping moments of sheer terror.

So Close to Freedom is a good read, well written, about a small part of the large, and complex history of the Resistance, as will prove rewarding reading for anyone interested in the Resistance or escape and evasion.


Note: So Close to Freedom is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

Buy it at



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close