In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her." The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill's "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and — despite her prosthetic leg — helped to light the flame of the French Resistance.
Hall established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, she refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day. Based on extensive research, Sonia Purnell has uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall — an astounding story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity.
"Throughout this lively examination of the life of Virginia Hall (1906-1982), British biographer and journalist Purnell (Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill, 2015, etc.) shows how, if Hall had been a man, dropping undercover in and out of occupied Vichy, Paris, and Lyon, setting up safe houses, and coordinating couriers for the Resistance, she would now be as famous as James Bond.... Later in the narrative, the author amply shows how her later CIA work was only grudgingly recognized and celebrated. Meticulous research results in a significant biography of a trailblazer who now has a CIA building named after her." — Kirkus Reviews
|Publication Date||Apr 9, 2019|