Caroline Moorehead has written biographies of Bertrand Russell, Heinrich Schliemann, Freya Stark, Iris Origo, Sidney Bernstein, Henriette-Lucy de La Tour du Pin and Martha Gellhorn. Her non-fiction books include a history of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dunant’s Dream; a book about pacifists, Troublesome People; another on terrorism, Hostages to Fortune, and Human Cargo, a book about refugees in the modem world.
She has also published a quartet of books about the resistance to fascists and Nazis. A Train in Winter (2011) focuses on 230 French women of the Resistance who were sent to Auschwitz, and of whom only forty-nine survived. Village of Secrets (2014) is on a similar theme, describing a story where a wartime French village helped 3,000 Jews to safety. A Bold and Dangerous Family (2017) is the story of the aristocratic Italian family who stood up to Mussolini’s fascism. Her recent book A House in the Mountains (2020) tells the true story of the women of the partisan resistance who fought against Italy’s fascist regime during World War II.
As a journalist, she specialised in human rights, contributing a column first to The Times and then the Independent, and co-producing and writing a series of programmes on human rights for BBC television.
She is a trustee and director of Index on Censorship, and a governor of the British Institute of Human Rights. She has served on the committees of the Royal Society of Literature, the Society of Authors, English PEN and the London Library. She also helped start a legal advice centre for asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in Cairo, where she helps run a number of educational projects.
In 1993 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 2005 she was appointed an OBE for services to literature.
Caroline Moorehead will talk about A House in the Mountains and A Train in Winter which have a common theme. Both in France and in Italy, many women were drawn into the resistance to the Nazis, their allies and/or the Fascists. They volunteered to help, or sometimes took over from their male kin who had been imprisoned or killed. They acted as couriers, went underground, sometimes carried out heroic acts and generally put themselves in considerable danger. In the process many deep and lasting friendships were formed. A number of these women died and, after the war was over, those who survived seldom received recognition for what they had achieved and very few found the life of happiness they had dreamed about.
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