It should have been a milk run, an easy mission over France just after D-Day. Little or no resistance was expected, but on June 14, 1944, less than 100 kilometers southeast of Paris, the Eighth Air Force Flying Fortress went down in flames, and bomber pilot Roy Allen found himself parachuting to safety, but separated from the rest of his men.
A young woman named Colette Florin hid Roy in her rooms above the tiny girls' school where she taught in Jouy-le-Châtel, a small village in the Département Seine-et-Marne. Concealing him not only from the Germans but from her neighbors as well, she was drawn deeper into the clandestine world of the French underground. The leader of the resistance in the region was Pierre Mulsant, a young Frenchman trained by the British Secret Service. Roy immediately recognized him as a natural leader, a man of energy and skill who inspired those around him. But despite Pierre's warnings and the admonishments of Colette and her family, Roy decided to leave the village and try to make it home to his pregnant wife.
Smuggled into Paris by the resistance, Roy was betrayed weeks later by undercover Gestapo agents. Considered a "terrorist" by the Germans, in August 1944 he was shipped on a nightmare train journey with 166 Allied airmen not to a POW camp but to Buchenwald concentration camp. A harrowing three months later, he was finally transferred to a POW camp in Silesia, just in time to be marched through a blizzard by his German captors to escape the onrushing Russians. Next came stays in camps at Nuremberg and Moosburg outside Munich. Liberated at last by Patton's army in April 1945, Roy's journey was still not complete. He could not rest until he had determined what had happened to Colette and Pierre, and so before making the trip home to the United States he traveled to Jouy to find out the truth.
Drawn from extensive interviews, letters, and archival documents in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States, In the Shadows of War relates this unforgettable story of a personal odyssey through one of the most brutal and horrific conflicts in world history. It is a profoundly moving human drama of love, courage, and sacrifice—and an insider's history of Europe during World War II unlike any other.