"Every page is gripping, and the amount of new research is nothing short of mind-boggling. A brilliant book for the ages!”—Douglas Brinkley, Rice University Professor and bestselling author of American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.
“Jeffrey Jackson has found and deftly rescued an extraordinary tale from the forgotten fronts of World War II. This is a Nazi resistance story like none you’ve ever heard or read.”—Hampton Sides, bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and Hellhound on His Trail
Paper Bullets is the first book to tell the true story of an audacious anti-Nazi resistance campaign undertaken by an unlikely pair: two French women—Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe—who drew on their skills as Parisian avant‑garde artists to write and distribute wicked insults against Hitler and calls to desert—a PSYOPs tactic known as “paper bullets”—designed to demoralize Nazi troops occupying their adopted home of Jersey in the British Channel Islands. Hunted for years by the secret field police, Lucy and Suzanne were finally betrayed in 1944 by a local Jersey woman who grew suspicious of their behavior. The Germans searched and then confiscated their home, put them in prison, and tried them in a court martial, sentencing them to death for their actions. Even in jail, they continued to fight the Nazis by reaching out to other prisoners—including imprisoned German soldiers—and spreading a message of hope.
Lucy and Suzanne's actions were even more courageous because of who they were: lesbian partners known for cross‑dressing and their gender‑bending photography; in addition, Lucy was half Jewish and they had communist affiliations.The story opens in the 1920s when Lucy and Suzanne were living in Paris, attending Gertrude Stein’s salons, dining with Sylvia Beach of Shakespeare and Company, attending political rallies with the surrealists, and creating the kind of work that the Nazis would come to call “degenerate art.” As the Nazis neared Paris, the couple moved to the British Isle of Jersey, which was soon occupied by the Germans. From their seaside farmhouse, they composed their paper bullets on scraps of papers, pages from ledger books, cigarette paper—anything they could find on the increasingly starved island—and signed them “The Soldier with No Name” and slipped them into soldier’s pockets or tucked them inside newsstand magazines.
Jeffrey H. Jackson takes readers inside the day‑to‑day struggles of civilians surviving in occupied territory and facing tough, sometimes gut-wrenching choices. Lucy and Suzanne’s story endures as a reminder that the courageous actions of ordinary people in extraordinary times can have significant consequences. Today, when marginalized groups are being targeted and neo-Nazis are on the rise, this inspiring story speaks volumes.