‘After the disastrous Battle of Arnhem in 1944, Brig. John Hackett, a badly wounded British paratroop commander, was rescued by Dutch resistance members and hidden in the home of three middle-aged sisters in a town teeming with German forces. In this beautifully written, deeply moving book, Hackett describes in vivid detail how he became part of the sisters’ extended family, and how he thus learned firsthand what it meant to live in an enemy-occupied country. He witnessed, daily, the bravery of the sisters, who were fiercely determined to keep him safe. They had bestowed on him, he wrote, “a rare and beautiful thing . . . a structure of kindness and courage, of steadfast devotion and a quiet selflessness.” On his 34th birthday, his hostesses surprised the hard-charging brigadier with a huge apple cake adorned with a small Union Jack. It had been made from prewar flour that the sisters had been saving for a special occasion. Afterward, Hackett broke down and cried. I challenge anyone to read this astonishing book and not be similarly moved to tears.’
We’re absolutely delighted to see that John Hackett’s memoir I Was a Stranger has been selected by author Lynne Olson for her The Wall Street Journal ‘Five Best’ books feature on Britain’s European Allies.