Paris in World War II—a time when young people in the French resistance risked their lives every day. Often the difference between life and death, between escape and capture, was a matter of luck, of coincidence, of fate.
Charles Kaiser’s remarkable portrait of one Parisian family examines the high cost and often tragic consequences that accompanied the decision to resist. The Cost of Courage is also a story of recovery and resilience, brought to life thanks to the author’s commitment to honoring Christiane Boull-oche-Audibert and her family.
Kaiser, the son of a diplomat, first met the Frenchwoman in 1962, when he was 11 years old. An enduring bond developed between the two families, but one topic always seemed off-limits: World War II.
As Kaiser would eventually come to learn, Christiane—along with her sister Jacqueline and brother André—was an active member of the French resistance, while their parents and older brother, Robert, were not. Christiane helped transmit radio messages, and coded and decoded telegrams to and from London. Christiane and Jacqueline managed to evade the Gestapo, but André was wounded and sent to a concentration camp. Still, after the invasion of Normandy, it seemed that the family would persevere. Those hopes would be tragically dashed just three weeks before the liberation of Paris.
A former New York Times reporter, Kaiser brings a journalist’s eye to uncovering one family’s painful history. The Cost of Courage is a poignant reminder that there are many untold stories of World War II, but that those who lived them will soon be gone.