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A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry.

Marino, Andy

51 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 031220356X / ISBN 13: 9780312203566
Published by St. Martin's, 1999
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Northmont Books and Stamps (Farmington Hills., MI, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian ...

Publisher: St. Martin's

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


Offers a close-up look at the life of Varian Fry, an American political journalist and closet homosexual, who masterminded the escape from occupied Europe of nearly two thousand of Europe's intelligensia, many Jewish refugees, including Marc Chagall, Enrico Fermi, Hannah Arendt, and many others. 35,000 first printing.


What bookish, young Harvard man Varian Fry described as his "own little war" involved no small ambition: working under the nose of the Nazis through the early years of World War II, Fry set out almost single-handedly to rescue a hefty portion of Europe's cultural and intellectual capital. Literally boatloads of Europe's best and brightest minds--poets, scientists, philosophers, musicians, painters--found safe haven with Fry and safe passage from Europe, eluding the ubiquitous Gestapo plainclothesmen ("the green fedoras") and the street-by-street raids by their Vichy cronies. Writer Andrew Marino (Herschel: The Boy Who Started World War II), thanks in no small part to the earlier research of editor Donald Carroll, details the war years of this man, dubbed "America's Oskar Schindler" and the New York-based Emergency Rescue Committee that he helped found to fund his work.

Reading like a cross between Casablanca and A Year in Provence, A Quiet American follows Varian Fry from his tumultuous beginnings convincing (among others) Eleanor Roosevelt of the necessity of his mission to his work with gangsters and gun-runners in the streets of Marseilles in order to secure the safety of Europe's intelligentsia, including such luminaries as Marc Chagall, Heinrich Mann, Enrico Fermi, and Hannah Arendt. The comparison to Oskar Schindler is apt and well deserved, but Fry's tale is all the better for his unique transformation: while Schindler was something of an opportunist-made-good, Fry was an effete, preppy intellectual, sincerely inspired by idealistic notions, whose secret work shaped him into a scrappy, resourceful hero. --Paul Hughes

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