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The Test Of Courage: Michel Thomas: A Biography Of The Holocaust Survivor And Nazi-Hunter By Christopher Robbins Kindle Edition
The story of Michel Thomas reads like a thriller in which adventure and heartbreak combine to produce a unique form of wisdom. Until his death in 2005, he taught languages to ghetto kids, heads of industry and movie stars in a matter of days, succeeding even with people who considered themselves hopeless linguists. To those who have been taught by him, he seemed to be a miracle worker with a magical gift for unlocking the secret powers of the mind.
This unique understanding was gained under extreme circumstances. Stateless in Vichy France at the beginning of the Second World War, he was incarcerated and starved in a concentration camp at the foot of the Pyrenees. Forced into slave labour in a coal mine in Provence, he avoided being sent to Auschwitz by hiding within the confines of a deportation camp for six weeks.
He escaped death to join the Secret Army of the Resistance. He was arrested and interrogated by Klaus Barbie, Butcher of Lyon, whom he deceived into releasing him, and was later re-arrested by the French Gestapo and tortured. He held out by entering a psychological state in which he no longer registered pain and after six hours of torture, his tormentors threw him into a cell and he survived to re-join the Resistance. After the Allies invaded France he joined the American forces, fought his way into Germany and was with the troops who liberated Dachau. He personally interrogated the camp’s hangman and oversaw his handwritten confession.
At the end of the war he became a Nazi-hunter. Working for American Counter Intelligence he posed as a Nazi himself to infiltrate and expose underground networks of SS men dedicated to the return of a Fourth Reich.
In spite of the fact that his entire family had been murdered in Auschwitz, and many close friends killed in combat, at the very end of the war he staged an elaborate gala evening in Munich which he called a Reconciliation Concert. Using German musicians, and in defiance of strict Allied non-fraternisation laws, he brought friend and foe together in the belief that there had to be a different and better future.
Author Christopher Robbins has dug deep to explore and substantiate the details of the Michel Thomas story. He has authenticated every episode through camp records, Vichy documents, Resistance papers, US Army reports and hundreds of hours of interviews with this extraordinary man. The result is one of the most inspirational stories of the 20th century.
The magnetic potency of Michel Thomas's teaching is partly explained by the Test of Courage, as much a thriller as a biography and not to be missed. ― Emma Thompson, Academy Award-winning actress
A vivid, life-affirming narrative that exerts considerable power. ― The Times
Steven Spielberg crossed with Tolstoy crossed with John Le Carré... ― The Independent
It gives a whole new perspective to the idea of being a hero...Fascinating. ― Open Book – BBC
This book is a right riveting read, a humdinger of a yarn... Michel Thomas has seen and done things the rest of us can only have a morbid curiosity about... One is left wondering about the nature of heroism itself, and of sacrifice. ― Scotland on Sunday
Fascinating... The Test of Courage chronicles, not only European history since the First World War, but also Michel Thomas's amazing acts of integrity and courage. ― Jewish Telegraph
Long ago the bestsellers were stories of wartime heroism... Thomas was a hero too but his exploits have had to wait until we were ready to dig a little deeper into the complexities of the war... The book is a long-belated catharsis... At one level it is an old-fashioned tale of wartime exploits; but the dark themes underneath are just right for post-Schindler Spielberg. ― Hamstead & Highgate Express
A remarkable biography of an astonishing man... the author paints an enthralling portrait of triumph against evil and adversity. ― Kingsbridge Gazette
A quite exceptional biography... moving... remarkable... ― The Southland Times (New Zealand)
This has to be the one of the best examples that we are all put on this earth for a reason... I could hardly put it down and only relented when I had to do some real work... I have now decided that I too can learn a language as his philosophy on learning is one that I can relate to and hope that in time educational institutions will too.
A truly inspirational read!!
Michel Thomas' biography is a must-read for anyone interested in the triumph of humanity over the seemingly overwhelming forces of evil. ― Reader review, Amazon.co.uk
Five stars is not enough for this gut wrenching biography... an awe inspiring read, which really puts one's own meek trials and tribulations into perspective. The final chapter has a quote: "Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live." This sums the book up. ― Reader review, Amazon.co.uk
This book will stir your soul. ― Reader review, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B0071MB022
- Publisher : Apostrophe Books (23 January 2012)
- Language : English
- File size : 739 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 304 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 20,808 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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When I got a mail from Amazon to say there was a book about him, I didn't hesitate. And what an interesting story it is. In his earlier life he inhabited a world that few of us born after the end of WW2 can really understand, especially if we are British and never suffered occupation under the Nazi regime. The reviews will tell those thinking of buying this book all about the key stages in Michel Thomas' life so I won't repeat them here. Suffice to say, it is a fascinating account and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
On publication of the biography a journalist took it upon himself to disprove Thomas exploits.
Frankly I feel that Thomas was the real deal. A good read.