D-Day girls the untold story of the female spies who helped win World War II

by Rose, Sarah, 1974-

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER * The dramatic, untold true story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain's elite spy agency to help pave the way for Allied victory in World War II

"Gripping. Spies, romance, Gestapo thugs, blown-up trains, courage, and treachery (lots of treachery)--and all of it true."--Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake

In 1942, the Allies were losing, Germany seemed unstoppable, and every able man in England was on the front lines. To "set Europe ablaze," in the words of Winston Churchill, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) was forced to do something unprecedented: recruit women as spies. Thirty-nine answered the call, leaving their lives and families to become saboteurs in France.

In D-Day Girls , Sarah Rose draws on recently de­classified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell the thrilling story of three of these remarkable women. There's Andrée Borrel, a scrappy and streetwise Parisian who blew up power lines with the Gestapo hot on her heels; Odette Sansom, an unhappily married suburban mother who saw the SOE as her ticket out of domestic life and into a meaningful adventure; and Lise de Baissac, a fiercely independent member of French colonial high society and the SOE's unflap­pable "queen." Together, they destroyed train lines, ambushed Nazis, plotted prison breaks, and gathered crucial intelligence--laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war.

Rigorously researched and written with razor-sharp wit, D-Day Girls is an inspiring story for our own moment of resistance: a reminder of what courage--and the energy of politically animated women--can accomplish when the stakes seem incalculably high.

Praise for D-Day Girls

"Rigorously researched . . . [a] thriller in the form of a non-fiction book." -- Refinery29

"Equal parts espionage-romance thriller and historical narrative, D-Day Girls traces the lives and secret activities of the 39 women who answered the call to infiltrate France. . . . While chronicling the James Bond-worthy missions and love affairs of these women, Rose vividly captures the broken landscape of war." -- The Washington Post

"Gripping history . . . thoroughly researched and written as smoothly as a good thriller, this is a mesmerizing story of creativity, perseverance, and astonishing heroism." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Part 1. God help us
Ungentlemanly warfare
A first class agent
The queen of the organization
Merde alors!
To the very last man
Part 2. 1000 dangers
The dark years
Alone in the world
Robert est arrivé
The Paris of the Sahara
Our possibilities
The demolition must never fail
An obstinate woman
An endless Calvary
The swap
The dog sneezed on the curtains
When the hour of action strikes
Part 3. Kisses
A patriotic profession
A little braver
The sighing begins
Death on one side, life on the other
Your mind goes on thinking
Epilogue: a useful life.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "This comprehensive and compelling tome tells about the women who made crucial, behind-the-scenes contributions to the 1944 Allied invasion of France, a major turning point of WWII. Rose (For All the Tea in China, 2010) begins her narrative by describing these women's controversial, top-secret recruitment by British special forces, and follows their extensive training, infiltration behind French lines, daring exploits, and post-war fates. Representing various backgrounds, they were tasked with fitting into French society and raising no suspicions as they handled a wide range of assignments: acting as couriers and escorts, coordinating and concealing parachuted military supplies, blowing up bridges, downing communication systems. Readers get to know these amazing women as individuals, as their duties unfold against the backdrop of the war. Ample background information is provided, so that the dangers of their precarious positions and the consequences of the success or failure of their missions are well apparent. Rose smoothly integrates developing events with biographical details and glimpses into French wartime society, creating a digestible and easy-to-follow story. This satisfying mix of social history and biography incorporates contemporary attitudes towards women, its subjects' personal quirks, and plenty of romance, and should engage a wide audience.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this gripping history, Rose (For All the Tea in China) skillfully details the lives of a handful of ordinary women living in dreary occupied France-who also happened to be highly trained agents for the London-based Special Operations Executive (SOE). Often parachuting under a full moon behind enemy lines, these women and their male colleagues blended in with the locals as they set up networks and trained resistance fighters for D-Day. They were chosen in part for their unflappable temperaments; the fearless Andrée Borrel, for example, reveled in her work as a saboteur, serenely riding away on her bicycle as her charges exploded. Unassuming Mary Herbert used a planned pregnancy as the ultimate cover-no one would suspect a young mother of spying. The yearlong delay in freeing France resulted German double agents infiltrating, with devastating results for the SOE operatives-as Allied generals bickered over landing dates, Odette Sansom suffered years of torture and tuberculosis in Ravensbruck while still protecting the network-but these largely unheralded volunteers depleted German tank divisions, boosted French morale, and quite possibly served as the inspiration for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Thoroughly researched and written as smoothly as a good thriller, this is a mesmerizing story of creativity, perseverance, and astonishing heroism. Agent: Larry Weissman, Larry Weissman Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Odette, -- 1912-1995.
Borrel, Andréé, -- 1919-1944.
Baissac, Lise de, -- 1905-2004.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Secret service -- Great Britain.
Women spies -- Great Britain -- History -- 20th century.
Women spies -- Great Britain -- Biography.
Espionage, British -- France -- History -- 20th century.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements -- France.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- Great Britain.
Electronic books.
Publisher [Place of publication not identified] :Crown/Archetype2019.
Edition First edition.
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 291-371) and index.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 9780451495105
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