A woman of no importance the untold story of the American spy who helped win World War II

by Purnell, Sonia,

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"E xcellent...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

The 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.
The dream
Cometh the hour
My tart friends
Good-bye to Dindy
Minutes, twelve men
Honeycomb of spies
Cruel mountain
Agent most wanted
Scores to settle
Madonna of the mountains
From the skies above
The CIA years.

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.
Electronic books.
Publisher [Place of publication not identified] :Penguin Publishing Group2019.
Contributors OverDrive, Inc.
Language English
System Details Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Format: Adobe EPUB eBook
Format: Kindle Book
Format: OverDrive Read
Requires Adobe Digital Editions or Amazon Kindle
Description 1 online resource
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 331-334) and index.
ISBN 9780735225305
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