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The Surgeon and the Shepherd: Two Resistance Heroes in Vichy France

Ostrum, Meg

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ISBN 10: 0803235739 / ISBN 13: 9780803235731
Published by University of Nebraska Press, 2004
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From S.C. Sumner (Venice, FL, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Inscribed in the year of publication by Charles Schepens, whose story is told in the book, on the front free endpaper: "To colonel Frank Randolph / To my longtime friend / with gratitude / Charles Schepens / February 25, 2004". Randolph (1919-2014) was a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack, and he flew bombing runs over Germany during World War II. Modest wear; unclipped dust jacket has a couple of short tears at top edge of front panel, now protected by a mylar sleeve. Bookseller Inventory # 008489

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Surgeon and the Shepherd: Two Resistance...

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed Copy

Edition: First Edition

About this title


Of the thousands of people who escaped through the Pyrenees during World War II, at least one hundred owe their lives to a daring scheme that Belgian Charles Schepens masterminded in Mendive, a remote Basque village near the French-Spanish border. The story of this near-miraculous resistance effort, an epic undertaking carried out in plain view of the Nazis, is recounted in full for the first time in The Surgeon and the Shepherd, an incredible, true tale of wartime heroism.

In 1942, in coordination with the Belgian resistance, Schepens stage-managed a highly secret information and evacuation service through the counterfeit operation of a back-country lumbering enterprise. This book traces Schepens’s gradual transformation from an apolitical young ophthalmologist into double agent “Jacques Pérot,” and his emergence in the postwar period as a modern folk hero to the residents of Mendive. Woven into the account are the stories of a remarkable international cast of characters, most notably the Basque shepherd Jean Sarochar, regarded as a local misfit, with whom Schepens formed his most unlikely partnership and an enduring friendship.

Part biography, part spy tale, part cultural study, The Surgeon and the Shepherd is based on more than ten years of oral history research. The saga of a Belgian “first resister” who, by posing as a collaborator, successfully duped both the Germans and the local French Basque population, it offers a powerful and illuminating picture of moral and physical courage.

About the Author:

Meg Ostrum is a museum professional and arts consultant based in Vermont who has worked in the heritage preservation field for more than twenty-five years. She has edited several documentary studies and collections of oral histories, including Visit’n: Conversations with Vermonters, an annual anthology published by the Vermont Folklife Center.

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