Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson

Lynne Olson has written a most interesting history about events in World War II that makes for fascinating reading. As the German army was extending control over parts of Europe prior to World War II and after the war was declared, London was becoming a city of refuge for the leaders who had escaped the Nazis and governments in exile for at least 7 major European countries. England was dubbed  “Last Hope Island” as it had not fallen to the Nazis and it was the place where so many of the exiles kept their plans alive to eventually defeat the Nazis. Among the characters who had gathered in London after the Germans had gained control over their homelands were the very colorful Queen Wilhelmina of Holland, King Haakon of Norway, and Charles DeGaulle, who saw himself as the leader of the Free French. Olson also gives her readers a front row seat on how resistance groups in German controlled countries worked their various campaigns to thwart German domination. As Olson shows, The British intelligence community was totally involved in these efforts, at times with limited degrees of success. Last Hope Island is a great companion to Olson’s Citizens of London, which also details life in London during World War II. Last Hope Island is well written and gives readers an absorbing account of a key chapter in the history of World War II. — Roy B.