by Neal Bascomb
One of the oft-forgotten stories of WWII is that of the people who resisted Nazi occupation within their homelands. While Norway was able to remain neutral in the first world war, scientific discoveries made that country uniquely attractive to Hitler's regime.
This book details the ways in which Norwegians worked to prevent the Nazi's from gaining access to one of the most crucial components of their scientific process to become the first nation with an atomic bomb. The Vemork hydroelectric power station was capable of producing heavy water, an element determined to make such a weapon possible. Hitler's team of scientists encouraged use of the plant and so it became a target for the resistance.
In a country without its own military, civilians became spies and warriors. This book chronicles the ways one group of men worked to overcome the highly trained military that had overtaken their homeland. These individuals survived treacherous winter conditions, crossed the sea to be trained with British soldiers, and outrun soldiers on a massive manhunt. They become spies and saboteurs in hopes of preventing their homeland from having any part in one of the most devastating atrocities ever committed by man.
I was riveted by this story and pictured some of the mentioned locations clearly. I gasped aloud when towns where mentioned where my ancestors once lived. I cheered for each victory the locals managed and when they were able to provide compassionate care for wounded and starving resistance fighters. Since reading this title, I've purchased it as a gift, and recommended it to history buffs and everyone I know with Norwegian heritage.