On the evening of 31 March 1916, a 23-year-old woman was led from her prison cell in occupied Brussels. She wore a long blue coat and walked ‘like a soldier’. The chaplain asked if she would like a blindfold before her execution. ‘I am not afraid of looking into the rifles,’ she replied. ‘I have been expecting this for a long time. This is not a traditional history of the First World War. It is the untold story of the women of the resistance in Belgium and occupied France during that conflict. Rick Stroud describes how the actions of eight exceptionally brave women affected the course of the war. Before the Germans invaded, they were ordinary people: some, like Gabrielle Petit, were working-class; some, like Edith Cavell, were from the bourgeoisie; and some. like the Princess de Croÿ, were from the upper echelons of society. The youngest was only twenty-one. The women took enormous risks and produced extraordinary results: they established underground networks, transmitted coded information, carried out sabotage attacks and helped to repatriate Allied soldiers. What they did was dangerous and exhausting and the penalties were severe: three faced the firing squad. Recounting their heroism and their inevitable tragedies, I Am Not Afraid of Looking into the Rifles is an enthralling story, beautifully told. In revealing the inspiring work of these remarkable women, Rick Stroud will introduce you to an entirely new version of the ‘war to end all wars’.
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
- ISBN: 9781398507067
- Number of pages: 320
- Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 24 mm