Avenue of Spies- A Review of an Alex Kershaw masterpiece

Paris has been called a city of light.  During World War II it became a city of darkness. It was Hitler’s prize and a privilege for high ranking Nazi officers to live on the prestigious Avenue Foch.  Torture chambers were a normal part of some households along this street.  Ordinary French citizens kept their windows and doors tightly shut through the long hot summer to prevent hearing the screams. Paris was a city abandoned to hopelessness and terror.
There were some who resisted the smelting pot of evil. Living on the very same street as several dedicated Nazi officials was one family who was determined to kindle hope and resilience.  The Jackson family endured the increasing pressure of ordinary life in Nazi France while using their home as an extraordinary escape route for those fleeing from the terror.
The Jackson family was determined to resist  the noose of Nazi capture. Even in the face of paying the ultimate price this family knew the value of human life and wanted to see the restoration of Paris.
This anecdote was riveting, terrifying, and informative.  It deserves to be on the list of “must reads”  for history.


Tarzan and the Foreign Legion- a GUEST REVIEW by Keith Mecklem

Tarzan and the Foreign Legion is the last of the original Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The story was classic Tarzan except for some celebrity schmoozing by the author.

Written and released in post-World War 1946, the plot has Colonel Clayton of the Royal Air Force fighting “Japs” on a south Pacific island after his plane crash lands. If the term “Japs” offends you, remember it reflects the attitude of the entire country in 1946. Japanese methods of fighting and brutal treatment of POWs led to extreme hate for all things Japan.

The author continuously drops Hollywood names, even having a main character comment that Tarzan looks like Johnny Weissmuller. None of the characters can believe it really is the Tarzan of stories from their youth. Tarzan, who fought Germans in WWI, tells them of an episode in Tarzan’s Quest that might account for his long life.

The cover is interesting because Tarzan never fights a shark until the 3rd from the last page of the book. The fight is less than a paragraph. The artist must have flipped a few pages and drew the first action he found. That was common with these early paperback editions.

I enjoyed the story on its own merits. Short, snappy chapters. Cliff-hangers. Lots of action. Bad guys who get what’s coming to them. Heroic American airmen. Strong and beautiful women. South Seas island. What more could a reader want?

Keith Mecklem's photo.