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  • They Shall Not Have Me

  • The Capture, Forced Labor, and Escape of a French Prisoner in World War II
  • By: Jean Helion
  • Narrated by: Robin Sachs
  • Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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They Shall Not Have Me cover art

They Shall Not Have Me

By: Jean Helion
Narrated by: Robin Sachs
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Editor reviews

The late Robin Sachs was tasked with the challenge of performing Jean Helion's moving account of his time imprisoned by the Nazi army. Sachs, of course, gives an engaging and sincere performance, putting listeners right into the trenches with Helion as he is captured and then escapes from a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp. Jean Helion, an accomplished abstract painter, had been living abroad in America, but a call to duty sent him home to France, and ultimately right into the Nazis hands. They Shall Not Have Me is a harrowing and unflinching look at one of modern Europe's most dark eras.

Summary

A moving and engrossing symbol of resilience and integrity, Hélion’s daring story of imprisonment and escape under the Nazi regime is now available in this stunning audiobook.

The French painter Jean Hélion’s unique and deeply moving account of his experiences in Nazi prisoner-of-war camps prefigures the even darker stories that would emerge from the concentration camps. This serious adventure tale begins with Hélion’s infantry platoon fleeing from the German army and warplanes as they advanced through France in the early days of the war. The soldiers chant as they march and run, “They shall not have me!” but are quickly captured and sent to hard labor.

Writing in English in 1943, after his risky escape to freedom in the United States, Hélion vividly depicts the sights, sounds, and smells of the camps, and shrewdly sizes up both captors and captured.

In the deep humanity, humor, and unsentimental intelligence of his observations, we can recognize the artist whose long career included friendships with the likes of Mondrian, Giacometti, and Balthus, and an important role in shaping modern art movements. Hélion’s picture of almost two years without his art is a self-portrait of the artist as a man.

©2012 The special contents of this edition by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Introduction 2012 by Deborah Rosenthal. Afterword 2012 by Jacqueline Helion, 1943 by Jean Helion (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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What an exceptional man

This was a good listen from start to finish. The tough life of a French POW who never let his Nazi guards break his spirit.The retreat of the French army in the face of Hitler's lightening war is told from a soldiers viewpoint.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Detailed and harrowing account of prisoner of war

A French soldier is captured as France collapses in WW 2, and the account provides great details of his imprisonment and later of the complexities involved in his successful escape. They didn't get him and the book shows exactly why.

1 person found this helpful

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Enlightening

I've read a number of war stories both fictional, biographical and documentary style but this was the first book in which I had learnt of the plight of French Soldiers. The story is a little slow but does offer a fascinating glimpse into a whole new dimension to the war.

1 person found this helpful

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Good to read this well written account. Very well worth it. A different perspective than others I have read

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  • Jo L.
  • 29-01-17

Fabulous!

This was a tremendous story! The narrator was spectacular! You will
love it. Most books regarding prison camps controlled by Nazi Germany deal with the Despicable treatment of Jews. It was interesting to learn how French POW's were treated. Who doesn't love a successful prison break story?.

2 people found this helpful