This month, local author Caroline Moorehead OBE, FRSL will see published the third of the books she planned as a ‘trilogy on resistance to dictatorship’ in Second World War Europe. The first book was A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France, published in 2011; the second was Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France, published in 2014; and the third, another three years on, is now A Bold and Dangerous Family: The Rossellis and the Fight Against Mussolini.
The meticulously researched books have attracted distinguished recognition, the second being shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize; but also, surprisingly, local vitriol from the inhabitants of the ‘Village of Secrets’, from different local factions vying for their own versions of the events that led to the miraculous saving of 5,000 lives, of Jews, resisters and communists.
Caroline has a distinguished record of working for human rights and serves on the board of the Helen Bamber Foundation, where she started an arts programme for refugees. She has been a persistent journalist on these issues since completing her 2005 book Human Cargo, described as ‘A Journey Among Refugees’.
On 19 June, Caroline treated us to an author talk at Primrose Hill Library on the climax of her trilogy, A Bold and Dangerous Family. It narrates the story of Amelia Rosselli and her two sons, Carlo and Nello, who were among the first anti-Fascists to challenge Mussolini through the years of Fascist violence during the 1920s and 1930s. The Rossellis paid heavily for their views: Carlo and Nello were murdered on the orders of Galleazzo Ciano in 1937. The true and brutal story is revealed through intensive research on the papers and letters of the Rosselli family and their friends. And the trilogy may well be stretched to a fourth in the series, since Caroline is now working on a book about women partisans in the valleys around Turin….