"A compelling and engaging narrative that tasks any reader to think about the role and reality of violence within their world. More to the point, it tasks anyone interested in nonviolence to think about the Christian call to become peacemakers in the world as an uncompromising demand."—Peace and Justice Studies Journal
"A courageous and inspirational story of André and Magda Trocmé who chose non-violent resistance and, together with the parishioners of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, saved the lives of many Jewish children in World War II France. An unforgettable read."—François Bovon, Harvard Divinity School and the University of Geneva
"A beautifully written and long overdue biography of Magda and André Trocmé, two of the prime movers in a World War II rescue mission in south-central France that saved the lives of an estimated 3,500 refugees. Working with thousands of unpublished pages, Unsworth probes deeply into the psyche of these two very different internationalists from whose biographies emerge a history of nonviolence, conscientious objection and pacifism in the twentieth century."—Patrick G. Henry, Whitman College
"An absolutely wonderful new biography of two seminal figures in the international history of nonviolence. Unsworth draws on rich archival research and personal interviews, skillfully weaving a narrative of these two exceptionally courageous and inspiring individuals. A comprehensive and engagingly written account, and a ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in nonviolence, the resistance to Nazism, and more broadly the meaning of a life uncompromisingly lived according to the highest ethical ideals."—Micheal D. Bess, Vanderbilt University Religion, Theology, and the Holocaust
This biography tells the story of André and Magda Trocmé, two individuals who made nonviolence a way of life. During World War II, the southern French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and its surrounding villages became a center where Jews and others in flight from Nazi roundups could be hidden or led abroad, and where children with parents in concentration camps could be nurtured and educated. The Trocmés’ courage during World War II has been well documented in books and film, yet the full arc of their lives—the impulse that led them to devote themselves to nonviolence and their extensive work in the decades following the war—has never been compiled into a full-length biography.
Based on the Trocmés’ unpublished memoirs, interviews, and the author’s research, the book details the couple’s role in the history of pacifism before, during, and after the war. Unsworth traces their mission of building peace by nonviolence throughout Europe to Morocco, Algeria, Japan, Vietnam, and the United States. Analyzing the political and religious complexities of the pacifist movement, the author underscores the Trocmés’ deeply personal commitment. Regardless of which nation was condoning violence, shaping international relations, or pressing for peace, and regardless of whose theology dominated the pulpits, both André and Magda remained driven by conscience to make nonviolence the hallmark of their life’s work.
Richard P. Unsworth is a senior fellow at the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute at Smith College. He has taught religion at Smith College and Dartmouth College, and served as headmaster and president of Northfield Mount Hermon School. His years of involvement with the Collège Cévenol in France led to a friendship with André and Magda Trocmé.
6 x 9, 358 pages, 40 black and white illustrations