A woman of no importance : the untold story of the American spy who helped win WWII

by Purnell, Sonia,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 34 Libraries 36 of 55 copies
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Summary
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR , the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times , the Washington Independent Review of Books , PopSugar , the Minneapolis Star Tribune , BookBrowse, the Spectator , and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A meticiulous history that reads like a thriller." - Ben Macintyre

A never-before-told story of Virginia Hall, the American spy who changed the course of World War II, from the author of Clementine.

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, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.

Virginia 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, Virginia 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 new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall--an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman's fierce persistence helped win the war.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The large cast of characters and nuanced detail in this exceptional true story require close attention, but the payoff for readers is tenfold. Purnell (Clementine, 2016) shines a spotlight on Virginia Hall, an American woman, by recounting her unprecedented heroism in WWII. An accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound cost Hall her leg. Even so, she hiked through the Pyrenees with a wooden prosthetic to escape Nazis who considered her a dangerous spy and top target for capture. Stories like this one layer on top of each other in a seemingly endless display of bravery. As part of the Resistance in France, Hall masterminded the prison escape of 12 agents, developed the tactics that would bloom into successful guerilla warfare, and cultivated a network of spies so effective that her superiors said progress in France would have been impossible without her. During her lifetime, Virginia's gender and her wooden leg were used as excuses to dismiss and undervalue her. Purnell's writing is as precise and engaging as her research, and this book restores overdue attention to one of the world's great war heroes. It's a joy to read, and it will swell readers' hearts with pride.--Emily Dziuban Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "British journalist Purnell (Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill) vividly resurrects an underappreciated hero and delivers an enthralling story of wartime intrigue. Virginia Hall, a spirited young woman from a once-wealthy Baltimore family, embarked on an overseas career as a clerk with the State Department in 1931 after finding that women were not welcome in the Foreign Service. Despite impressive work, she was barred from taking the diplomatic corps entrance exam for unexplained reasons. Two years later, a gunshot wound in a hunting accident cost her half of her left leg. Despite her disability, Hall drove ambulances for the French army after the war started. An undercover British agent noticed her, and she was hired by the Special Operations Executive to recruit Resistance workers in France. Posing as a newspaper reporter, Hall established a vast underground network that pushed back against the German invaders. In late 1942, with her cover blown, Hall escaped France via a dangerous trek across the Pyrenees to Spain. When the SOE refused to send her back to France, she joined the American Office of Strategic Services to facilitate D-Day operations. Though the broader contours of Hall's story will be familiar to those who've read about wartime France, Purnell does a fine job of bringing Hall's story to life. Fans of WWII history and women's history will be riveted. Illus. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Goillot, Virginia, -- 1906-1982.
Women spies -- United States -- Biography.
Spies -- United States -- Biography.
Intelligence officers -- United States -- Biography.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Secret service -- United States.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements -- France.
Biographies.
Publisher [New York, New York] :2019
Language English
Description 352 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 317-334) and index.
ISBN 9780735225299
073522529X
9781984877611
1984877615
Other Classic View