A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

A Woman of No Importance The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II In 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 Balti socialite who talk

  • Title: A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
  • Author: Sonia Purnell
  • ISBN: 073522529X
  • Page: 149
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 Balti 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 de 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 Balti 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 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 Get A Copy Kindle Store 14.99 StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksApple BooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryAlibrisIndigoBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Hardcover, 368 pages Published April 9th 2019 by Viking first published March 28th 2019 More Details ISBN 073522529X ISBN13 9780735225299 Other Editions 10 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail Edit Details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about A Woman of No Importance, please sign up Popular Answered Questions Ive read about a third and am ready to quit She left very little info, never talked about her experiences The author was meticulous in research, but all Im learning is about her cold room, and bad food You learn that she organized hundreds, but not how No nitty gritty Does it get any better 2 likeslike 3 months ago See all 8 answers Cricket Muse The first couple of chapters is slow going, but once Virginia begins her undercover work in France it becomes almost like a detailed spy novel flag What did others think who read the complete book While I was expecting of a first person narrative, I found that given time, I grew used to the journalistic style reporting and became as enthralled with Victoria Hall as those who knew her This is the type of story that we need to hear as a nation and as women It would make an excellent movie if done well Glad I found this 1 likelike 37 days ago See all 2 answers Craig Gralley If you are looking for a first person narrative about Hall I d recommend Hall of Mirrors check out the reviews on and flag See all 3 questions about A Woman of No Importance Lists with This Book Women s biographies 2019 236 books 77 voters WW2 The Resistance Fiction Non Fiction 180 books 81 voters More lists with this book Community Reviews Showing 1 30 4.31 Rating details 2,646 ratings 496 reviews All LanguagesEnglish 488 Espa ol 1 Nederlands 1 More filters Sort order May 14, 2019 Chrissie rated it really liked it Shelves politics, ww2, england, usa, 2 itunes library, italy, turkey, audible uk, france, bio Virginia Hall April 6, 1906 July 8, 1982 was an American spy, working first with the British Special Operations Executive SOE and then later with the American Office of Strategic Services OSS during World War II, primarily in France After the war she was honored with awards in the US, France and Britain receiving the American Distinguished Service Cross DSC , the French Croix de Guerre and made an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire MBE The DSC was the only one awarde Virginia Hall April 6, 1906 July 8, 1982 was an American spy, working first with the British Special Operations Executive SOE and then later with the American Office of Strategic Services OSS during World War II, primarily in France After the war she was honored with awards in the US, France and Britain receiving the American Distinguished Service Cross DSC , the French Croix de Guerre and made an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire MBE The DSC was the only one awarded to a civilian woman in World War Two After the war Virginia worked at the Special Activities Division of the newly established CIA The book covers in great detail her involvement in war efforts in France The book starts with Virginia s youth, telling of how she came to study in Paris and in so doing fell in love with France Hunting in Turkey she accidentally shot her own leg and in so doing was thus forced to wear a prosthesis This never stopped her from fulfilling her goals After the German invasion of France in 1940, she became determined to return France to the French That she was a woman, that she had only one fully functional leg didn t matter On one occasion, escaping from France, she crossed the Pyrenees in winter, a difficult feat for a healthy person We learn in great detail of all her missions, working first with the SOE and then later the OSS Working closely with French partisans, she organized guerrilla units and missions Nuns, prostitutes and a wide array of individuals from different social classes were those she had contact with She saw that her compatriots were freed from prisons Safe houses needed to be established Radio messages had to be transmitted All aspects of each mission were planned in detail by her Bridges were to be blown up, rail lines destroyed and telephone lines cut All communications were to be severed German convoys were targeted Delivery of ammunition, supplies and food to the Germans was to be stopped and the Germans subsequent retreat made impossible German intelligence was sabotaged Escape of prisoners had to be meticulously organized All involved were risking their lives There is suspense in the telling and gruesome details are related Each mission is detailed with exactitude.The missions give the reader a very clear picture of Virginia s personality Determined, intelligent, independent, self controlled, courageous, illusive, frank, outspoken, caring, but not cuddly.Posthumously it has been acknowledged that Virginia was discriminated against That de Gaulle sought to downplay the importance of Allied Forces and of women in general has played in too That Virginia s achievements and valor have now been brought to public attention is just and proper.I usually avoid books of espionage I worry that I will not understand For the most part, I did understand There are numerous people involved but the reader is brought back time and time again to central figures In this way events are tied together as a whole.While the book s prime focus is Virginia s actions during the war, her life after the war is summarized too The book follows her life through to her death.Juliet Stevenson narrates the audiobook She uses different accents, juggling a fake French accent, a British and an American accent This made listening a disjointed experience and not to my taste I have generously given the narration performance three stars Higher than that I cannot go First Lady 4 starsA Woman of No Importance The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II 4 stars flag 30 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Jun 07, 2019 Faith rated it it was amazing Shelves audio, overdrive I recently read a novel about a couple who had worked with the French Resistance and it made me want to read a nonfiction account A Woman of No Importance gave me than I had hoped for I am almost completely ignorant about the French Resistance but still it s kind of shocking that I had never heard of the accomplishments of Virginia Hall Virginia was an American woman who wanted to be a diplomat, rather than marrying well as her mother preferred, at a time when that wasn t really done I recently read a novel about a couple who had worked with the French Resistance and it made me want to read a nonfiction account A Woman of No Importance gave me than I had hoped for I am almost completely ignorant about the French Resistance but still it s kind of shocking that I had never heard of the accomplishments of Virginia Hall Virginia was an American woman who wanted to be a diplomat, rather than marrying well as her mother preferred, at a time when that wasn t really done Her hopes were thwarted when she accidentally shot her leg while hunting in Turkey and lost her leg However, her intelligence and drive led her to join the British Special Operations Unit, and her persistence made them send her to France She went undercover as an American journalist and she managed to go everywhere and meet everyone and recruit people to the Resistance as she went Her prosthetic leg made her stand out, but even so she was capable of assuming multiple identities in a single day She was given a license to kill by her British handlers and she became extremely adept at organizing and carrying out clandestine operations and training participants When her cover was blown she escaped over snow covered mountains The British refused to send her back to France so she switched to America s Office of Strategic Services the OSS and precursor to the CIA who sent her back to France before D Day to lead a guerrilla campaign against the Nazis After the war she worked for the CIA, which failed to utilize her unique skills What can you expect from an institution that made its female employees wear white gloves to work, even if they had spent time disguised as a French peasant while they fought Nazis She was awarded the Croix de Guerre There weren t any dull parts to this book and parts of it were quite cinematic It really should be made into a movie and everyone should know about Virginia Hall flag 21 likesLike see review View 2 comments May 17, 2019 Haley Nixt rated it liked it Shelves read in 2019, history, nonfiction, reviewed, spies, adult, standalone 3.5 The content is 5 stars This was an absolutely fascinating story, and I would love to go back in time and have dinner with Virginia Hall and just pump her for stories because damn She would have some good stories However, the reason I took off stars was the writing While I finished the book in just a few days this is a great subway read and it s very engaging while you re reading, it feels very surface level I would have appreciated time developing side characters besides two or 3.5 The content is 5 stars This was an absolutely fascinating story, and I would love to go back in time and have dinner with Virginia Hall and just pump her for stories because damn She would have some good stories However, the reason I took off stars was the writing While I finished the book in just a few days this is a great subway read and it s very engaging while you re reading, it feels very surface level I would have appreciated time developing side characters besides two or three who get particular attention Towards the end, a lot of names were thrown around that the reader has already seen, and I had to really, really search my memory to remember how they had helped or hindered Virginia I also would have appreciated tactics, how did all of Virginia s mission fit into the larger scheme of the war A lot of the time, the writing felt like it was skimming her story because it moved so quickly A month would pass, and we would be told that Virginia had done a lot of work, but there was no real discussion of what that work was But I really, really wish the author and editor would have chosen to integrate sources differently into the narrative They re used as footnotes, and there s no reference in the text as to how the author acquired the information For details such as numbers and troop movements, it doesn t matter as much, I don t think, because I assumed she took it from a report or other piece of information though it would have been nice if the author integrated those in as well, with dates and places I believe that would have made the narrative feel even grounded Where it really mattered was when the author attributed thoughts and feelings to Virginia This didn t work for me because, as the author said, Virginia almost NEVER talked about her work as a spy She was very private and she didn t like revisiting those parts of her life, either because it was bad memories or she didn t want to take glory for something that wasn t all that glorious All of the author s information about her was secondhand, which makes sense because Virginia didn t leave much of a paper trail and she s also dead, so she couldn t be interviewed When you read the acknowledgements, you re led to assume that a lot of the personal details came from the author s extensive interviews with Virginia s niece That s totally fine, she s an excellent source of information I just wish that in the narrative there would have been a little distancing, even something like It s likely, based on discussions with her niece, who knew her well, that Virginia felt thought etc The narrative is currently written as if the author knows, for sure, this is how Virginia was thinking and feeling at that exact moment, as if she had written it in a diary But she didn t, and in the later chapters, when the niece is specifically mentioned, she says that Virginia almost never talked to her about her work So why does the author phrase it like that It is, admittedly, a very small thing, but I came away with the distinct impression that the author was putting words and feelings into Virginia s mouth That, combined with the fact that when I closed the book I thought, Well, that felt very surface level , made me dock a few stars tl dr The content is 5 stars, hands down Virginia Hall is a badass and is one of the reasons why the Allies won WWII The writing is closer to a 3, because sources weren t integrated, thoughts and feelings were attributed to Hall when we cannot say for certain she felt thought those things, and it wanted to cover so much information that it never dug deep into certain topics tactics, how Virginia s set up her contacts besides talking flag 22 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jan 02, 2019 Stephanie Crowe rated it it was amazing Purnell has penned another spectacular history of another outstanding woman I was enad with the first history of Clementine Churchill I loved that one And this tale of the exploits of Virginia Hall just blew me out of the water This woman was unstoppable, unflappable and fearless in her desire to serve in WWII She was the primary developer of the French Resistance and worked for the British Secret Service as well the American OSS She struggled for 6 years in France working to defeat Purnell has penned another spectacular history of another outstanding woman I was enad with the first history of Clementine Churchill I loved that one And this tale of the exploits of Virginia Hall just blew me out of the water This woman was unstoppable, unflappable and fearless in her desire to serve in WWII She was the primary developer of the French Resistance and worked for the British Secret Service as well the American OSS She struggled for 6 years in France working to defeat the Germans and to say she was marvelous is an understatement She displayed such leadership that French citizens were easily enlisted to help her and willing to suffer to save their country Purnell has done exquisite research to bring to life the work of Virginia in great detail I can t say enough about this book It will be my history pick for the year Loved it flag 17 likesLike see review View 2 comments Jun 18, 2019 Holly rated it it was amazing Shelves 2019 reads, some recent favorites, audio I loved this story To read listen to the book is to have an immersive experience in the emergence of the French Resistance and the life of the eccentric American woman who worked for the UK and was at the center of the Resistance in Europe The spycraft stories are gripping and the human lives lost are heartbreaking Also heartbreaking and simply maddening is the disdain and apathy and sexist treatment given to Virginia Hall in the OSS and postwar CIA The audiobook is read by the award winning I loved this story To read listen to the book is to have an immersive experience in the emergence of the French Resistance and the life of the eccentric American woman who worked for the UK and was at the center of the Resistance in Europe The spycraft stories are gripping and the human lives lost are heartbreaking Also heartbreaking and simply maddening is the disdain and apathy and sexist treatment given to Virginia Hall in the OSS and postwar CIA The audiobook is read by the award winning British actress Juliet Stevenson, one of the BEST narrators today, in my opinion flag 14 likesLike see review View 1 comment Apr 27, 2019 Madeline rated it it was amazing Shelves 2019 favorites This book tells the important story of an unrecognized hero of World War II Virginia Hall, one of the few female spies who helped build the French Resistance and assure the success of the Allied invasion of France Purnell s stunningly detailed research and writing puts us in the action with Virginia, building up tension, emotion and joy as events unfold Purnell also includes the perfect amount of historical context, to ensure that the reader isn t left drowning While the many code names and This book tells the important story of an unrecognized hero of World War II Virginia Hall, one of the few female spies who helped build the French Resistance and assure the success of the Allied invasion of France Purnell s stunningly detailed research and writing puts us in the action with Virginia, building up tension, emotion and joy as events unfold Purnell also includes the perfect amount of historical context, to ensure that the reader isn t left drowning While the many code names and people referenced may be confusing, the story remains focused on Virginia, and all that she has done for France, freedom and representation, of both women and those with disabilities Virginia s story inspired and awed me in every page, and I can only look up to her as a role model I am so glad Purnell took the time to research Virginia and give her the attention and respect that she deserved Virginia s story is one of perseverance, determination, and love of freedom, country, and people that should not be forgotten We still have much to learn and improve upon from her experience Women our capabilities, emotions, and drive should not be overlooked or ignored, and Virginia Hall s story is a shining example of the consequences, both positive and negative, of this Thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin for providing me with an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for an honest review I ll write a detailed account later, but this book is an amazingly detailed account of the story of Virginia Hall, a formidable and trailblazing spy during World War II Great representation of disability as well flag 11 likesLike see review View 1 comment May 21, 2019 Jean rated it it was amazing Shelves non fiction, history, biography I have never been a big history buff Perhaps it is something that happens as one collects decades in one s life, but if I had read books like Sonia Purnell s A Woman of No Importance , I would have known that history is a fascinating subject This non fiction saga covers the incredibly successful, albeit unlikely, career of Virginia Hall, a woman who defied the odds by becoming a very reliable British Special Operation Executive agent in France in World War II.Virginia, called Dindy by I have never been a big history buff Perhaps it is something that happens as one collects decades in one s life, but if I had read books like Sonia Purnell s A Woman of No Importance , I would have known that history is a fascinating subject This non fiction saga covers the incredibly successful, albeit unlikely, career of Virginia Hall, a woman who defied the odds by becoming a very reliable British Special Operation Executive agent in France in World War II.Virginia, called Dindy by her family, was born in Maryland in 1906 into a well to do family Although she was highly intelligent, she found school boring She craved adventure and travel When she finished school, her dream was to become a diplomat She applied but was rejected Even President Franklin D Roosevelt himself would not intervene on her behalf This was ironic because like Roosevelt, Dindy had a disability She was an amputee, having lost her leg after it became severely infected following a hunting accident She didn t let that deter her, however, from pursuing her higher aspirations At the time, there were only six women of 1500 foreign service workers Rejection because of her gender became a common occurrence in Virginia s career Instead of pouting, she dug in her heels and made herself an even stronger candidate.Since the American government had rejected her, she signed on with the British She was trained as a spy and became an expert at disguising herself, recruiting supporters and resistance fighters, and providing food, concealment, and safe transport to those fleeing the Nazis and the Abwehr She formed incredible networks of defenders among the police, townsfolk, other agents, and even a madam and prostitutes in brothels What she didn t have, often, was cooperation or well disciplined agents among her ranks Some men, unfortunately, were resistant to taking orders from a woman, and she had no real authority to command them, for this was not her title It was, however, her expertise and her calling.Ms Purnell documents in great detail many of the missions and exploits undertaken by Virginia and the men with whom she worked There were many successes as well as many failures This does not read like any of the history books I grew up with in school It almost reads like a novel There are plots that were complex undertakings, and I found myself totally engrossed Most were fraught with hunger, cold, sleep deprivation, and ever present danger Virginia and Cuthbert, her wooden prosthesis endured it all and pulled herself together to keep on going Amazing Many of those who were her partners in the Resistance, sadly, did not survive The descriptions of their fate are not pleasant to read I marvel at the courage and determination of these men and women who gave so much for France There are too many events to mention, but I do have one that impressed me the most the jailbreak of the twelve SOE agents from Mauzac prison, a feat that was planned by Virginia and was thought to be impossible Over time, she became a most wanted person by the Germans, who first thought they were looking for a man.I am in awe of the research that went into the writing of this book I took my time in reading it I looked up French words and their pronunciations I went back and forth and looked up code names in the List of Characters, as I got confused at times What struck me most was how this one woman accomplished so much and wanted no credit She only wanted to do She was a woman of no importancein concealing her identity from others, she had at last found what she really was and what she really could do And how, in fighting for the liberty of another nation, she had found freedom for herself page 308 Today, Virginia Hall is recognized as a pioneer who represents Service, one of the CIA s six ethos France and the Allies owe a great debt to Virginia Hall and those who struggled and fought with her.5 stars flag 8 likesLike see review View all 4 comments May 07, 2019 Donna rated it liked it Shelves non fiction 3.5 STARS.This is nonfiction about an American woman who made the French resistance her passion She fought her way to the center and did so much to assist and direct She was daring and constantly pushed for results I enjoyed her story But I m not sure I was all that crazy about the audio narration So 3 stars flag 7 likesLike see review View 1 comment May 13, 2019 Katie Doing Dewey rated it it was amazing Shelves aprilff Summary An incredible, exciting story about an inspiring, dedicated spy.This is the story of one of the most impressive people I ve ever heard of Despite being an American woman with a disability, Virgnia Hall was one of the first spies of the British Special Operations Executive SOE aka the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare By surviving a devastating early round up of SOE agents, she was largely responsible for establishing an SOE presence in occupied France She recruited agents from al Summary An incredible, exciting story about an inspiring, dedicated spy.This is the story of one of the most impressive people I ve ever heard of Despite being an American woman with a disability, Virgnia Hall was one of the first spies of the British Special Operations Executive SOE aka the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare By surviving a devastating early round up of SOE agents, she was largely responsible for establishing an SOE presence in occupied France She recruited agents from all walks of life She executed some of the most daring rescue operations of the war She risked her own life time and again for others And through all of this, she fought for the ability to keep doing her job as various superiors doubted her abilities I don t know that I ve heard of anyone else I ve admired as much for their determination and daring.As you can probably tell from my summary, I thought this was a pretty incredible story Truly a case of fact being unbelievable than fiction and at least as entertaining The writing was descriptive and engaging It reminded me of Eric Larson, except author Sonia Purnell did a better job not making things up and noting where the facts were unclear Her judicious use of direct quotes made this story feel immediate and true There seem to be some delightful quotes available about the SOE and Virginia Several made me laugh out loud Unfortunately, in my review copy, the selection of quotes which had citations seemed random I d have liked for every direct quote to be paired with a reference This didn t detract from my enjoyment of the story though I loved that this was the story of a woman who was one of the first and most impressive spies of any gender during WWII I did sometimes wonder if the author was leaning a little too hard into the lone genius myth though I m sure Virginia s incredible successes did help convince the SOE to keep recruiting women and to look for other spies with her level of professionalism and lack of ego Direct quotes make it clear many of her colleagues held her in the highest regard However, I think the author s emphasis on Virginia s exceptionalism occasionally does a disservice to the women on both sides who served in every military capacity you might think of I love books like this that shine a light on women who have been left out of many previous histories, but at this point I ve read enough histories like this that it s clear exceptional woman are not such an exception.That s a small complaint though and one that is common to many biographies which like to emphasize the importance of their subject Overall, I loved this story and will definitely be keeping my copy to lend out to anyone I can convince to read it.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey flag 6 likesLike see review May 03, 2019 Joann rated it it was amazing Shelves books i won, giveaway, drama, page turners, ww2, adventure, english drama, 5 star, non fiction, historical Firstly, I won this amazing book in a Giveaway for the chance to leave an honest review of this book and what a stunner it is This book reveals the way women were regarded in the 1930 s and 1940 s We have come a long way since then but still have a good way to go yet Virginia Hall had the skills and leadership abilities that were unrecognized by her so called superiors I never knew that these operations had been going on years before D Day and how much they contributed to the event Firstly, I won this amazing book in a Giveaway for the chance to leave an honest review of this book and what a stunner it is This book reveals the way women were regarded in the 1930 s and 1940 s We have come a long way since then but still have a good way to go yet Virginia Hall had the skills and leadership abilities that were unrecognized by her so called superiors I never knew that these operations had been going on years before D Day and how much they contributed to the eventual allied victory I enjoyed this book very much flag 5 likesLike see review View 1 comment May 31, 2019 JaNel rated it liked it Shelves biography, history, girl power Slightly embarrassed, but didn t finish I really wanted to know this story but the writing is so dry and moves so slow Don t judge me I put forth a good effort And I love to read and love books But make a movie in this case flag 6 likesLike see review May 13, 2019 Elizabeth A.G rated it it was amazing Shelves 2019 nonfiction group challenge, 500000 2019 ladies literature, love of reading 5000 books read A well written and researched book Sonia Purnell brings to light the life of a mostly neglected American heroine of WWII who was dissatisfied with and eschewed the upper class life that her mother envisioned for her Defying the convention of a woman s place, Virginia Hall sought a life that made her feel alive and after overcoming discrimination, prejudice, and her disability a prosthetic leg found that life working for the British SOE as an agent to thwart the Nazi insurgency in France, A well written and researched book Sonia Purnell brings to light the life of a mostly neglected American heroine of WWII who was dissatisfied with and eschewed the upper class life that her mother envisioned for her Defying the convention of a woman s place, Virginia Hall sought a life that made her feel alive and after overcoming discrimination, prejudice, and her disability a prosthetic leg found that life working for the British SOE as an agent to thwart the Nazi insurgency in France, helping promote and encourage the French Resistance against the Nazis, and conducting surveillance, espionage, and guerrilla warfare which played no small role in bringing about Allied victory The author writes about Hall s disguises and code names as well as those of her compatriots as they conduct their covert activities and about the trust and endurance needed among her followers, and also the deception of counter spies that threatened the lives of freedom fighters Ms Purnell exposes the grim atrocities of war on a people and the determination of this one woman not to give up despite her hardships and suffering The author follows Hall s life after the war and the continued discrimination toward her as a woman whose accomplishments were ignored by some in her later career in the American CIA.A worthy read of a woman with determination, selflessness and a worthy cause flag 4 likesLike see review Jul 03, 2019 Erika Robuck rated it it was amazing The most fascinating and comprehensive Virginia Hall biography to date flag 4 likesLike see review Apr 10, 2019 Shay rated it really liked it This fascinating account takes the reader deep into the underground of the French Resistance, and behind the scenes of how the Allies worked to arm and coordinate with fighters inside the occupied country to end the war Hall s remarkable adventures make for a gripping, if bittersweet read After struggling to find her place as a young woman, Hall achieved great success in the war, only to struggle to advance in her later career What was forgiven under the exigencies of war held her back at Lan This fascinating account takes the reader deep into the underground of the French Resistance, and behind the scenes of how the Allies worked to arm and coordinate with fighters inside the occupied country to end the war Hall s remarkable adventures make for a gripping, if bittersweet read After struggling to find her place as a young woman, Hall achieved great success in the war, only to struggle to advance in her later career What was forgiven under the exigencies of war held her back at Langley That she is today recognized as one of the greats is but little consolation for the failure to fully utilize her talents flag 4 likesLike see review May 14, 2019 Marie rated it it was amazing Shelves world war 2, history, audiobook Virginia Hall should by rights be a household name Her espionage and singular determination to aid the French Resistance is one of the most remarkable war stories I have ever read about, but most people have never heard of her This extraordinary woman had grit and determination than many tougher men, and incredibly, walked with a wooden leg, having lost the leg following an injury as a teenager Her exploits during Vichy France were nothing short of miraculous, and I thoroughly enjoy Virginia Hall should by rights be a household name Her espionage and singular determination to aid the French Resistance is one of the most remarkable war stories I have ever read about, but most people have never heard of her This extraordinary woman had grit and determination than many tougher men, and incredibly, walked with a wooden leg, having lost the leg following an injury as a teenager Her exploits during Vichy France were nothing short of miraculous, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about what she did to help liberate France during WWII.I am awarding 5 stars with one caveat the writing is not always as sharp as it could be, and I would have liked for the narrative to have been stronger at times Other than that, I found the book to be well researched and utterly fascinating.Audiobook performance I switched to the audiobook when I was a few chapters in, and I liked the audio so much better than just reading this The narrator brought a lot of life to the story flag 4 likesLike see review May 12, 2019 Claire rated it it was amazing WOW everyone needs to read this book, and i say this a lot, but i truly, truly, TRULY mean it this time this is a story of an amazing superwoman who existed in ww2 she was truly amazing considering the world STILL knows nothing of virginia hall, this book is so important we must all pay tribute to the woman trailblazer who single handedly set up the groundwork for the french resistance in ww2, commanded guerilla forces, and routinely pulled off miracles that saved hundreds of lives not to WOW everyone needs to read this book, and i say this a lot, but i truly, truly, TRULY mean it this time this is a story of an amazing superwoman who existed in ww2 she was truly amazing considering the world STILL knows nothing of virginia hall, this book is so important we must all pay tribute to the woman trailblazer who single handedly set up the groundwork for the french resistance in ww2, commanded guerilla forces, and routinely pulled off miracles that saved hundreds of lives not to mention she embarked on some of the most dangerous espionage missions during the war, gathered crucial information that, without, d day and the liberation of france could not have happened, and crossed the pyrennes hiking 10,000 foot mountain ranges all on ONE LEG because virginia hall was also a disabled woman, making her extraordinary accomplishments so much amazing and all throughout her life there were men saying she was weak, inferior, and unable to do anything, simply because she didn t have two legs and was a woman she is truly a role model and needs to be recognized everyone needs to read this book flag 4 likesLike see review Aug 18, 2019 Lena rated it it was amazing Shelves non fiction This is one of the most incredible stories I have ever read It is the gripping, terrifying and inspiring biography of a disabled American socialite whose passionate love of France and refusal to except the limitations of being a woman and having only one full leg motivated her to become one of the most successful spies of the second world war Virginia Hall fell in love with France as an expat Despite her mother s expectations that she marry well for the benefit of the family, Virginia had her This is one of the most incredible stories I have ever read It is the gripping, terrifying and inspiring biography of a disabled American socialite whose passionate love of France and refusal to except the limitations of being a woman and having only one full leg motivated her to become one of the most successful spies of the second world war Virginia Hall fell in love with France as an expat Despite her mother s expectations that she marry well for the benefit of the family, Virginia had her sights set on a career in the diplomatic corps She did not see why being a woman should stand in the way of that, and after losing the lower half of one leg in a hunting accident, she only redoubled her efforts to overcome the bias against women as diplomats She remained stymied in her efforts, however, until France s abrupt capitulation to the Nazis, when she caught the eye of a leader in Britain s newly formed spy agency, the SOE Because America was at that point still neutral in the war, Virginia was able to return to France and operate under the cover of being a war correspondent for the New York Post while she began the dangerous work of knitting together the first pockets of the French resistance At this point her sex and her disability worked in her favor, since no one could imagine she was actually a spy for the British But what made her so successful was not simply her unlikliness Virginia possessed a compelling combination of charisma, compassion, intelligence, discretion and extreme caution that allowed her to continue operating long after many of her male counterparts had been captured or killed I found it nearly impossible to put this book down As I read about her numerous incredible feats, I repeatedly found myself thinking that no one would believe these stories if they had been written as fiction From breaking 12 of her SOE colleagues out of a Nazi jail to escaping to Spain by walking over the Pyrenees in miserable weather while half starved with her leg stump bleeding to returning to France even after her cover had been blown to build and lead her own guerilla resistance unit that did devastating damage to the Germans, I couldn t begin to understand how the story of such an incredible person was only just now being told.Some of her anonymity had to do with the nature of her work, which remained classified for decades after her exploits Her lack of interest in being celebrated also played a part, since she rejected some honors and cared little for others that were bestowed upon her But the greatest cruelty of Virginia Hall s story is that, once the war was over, the American CIA forerunner which she had eventually gone to work for expected she, like all the other women who had supported the war effort, would return to traditional womanly roles and leave the real work to far less experienced men Her supervisors who had lived through the war from the comfort of an ocean away simply failed to understand how Virginia s extensive field experience could translate in any useful way to the new cold war unfolding across Europe, and left her underutilized and frustrated for the majority of her post war career due to blatant sexism that they eventually acknowledged cost them dearly.Now that this book is out, I hope that Virginia s story will become much widely known and inspire a new generation of people who have been overlooked to refuse to let limitations imposed on them by others stand in their way flag 3 likesLike see review May 19, 2019 Amy rated it really liked it This book epitomizes how truth, while not always stranger than fiction, can be intense than the make believe There were moments reading this when I was on the edge of my seat, holding my breath How one American woman, Virginia Hall, managed to establish spy networks throughout France, while near constantly trying to outmaneuver Nazis and double agents, is mind boggling It is no wonder there are discussions about making this into a movie although with all the rich material, it might be b This book epitomizes how truth, while not always stranger than fiction, can be intense than the make believe There were moments reading this when I was on the edge of my seat, holding my breath How one American woman, Virginia Hall, managed to establish spy networks throughout France, while near constantly trying to outmaneuver Nazis and double agents, is mind boggling It is no wonder there are discussions about making this into a movie although with all the rich material, it might be better as a miniseries so as not to leave any of the important events or characters out of the retelling As a side note, I was intrigued with the all too short comments about the intrepid if disturbingly brilliant parts the French prostitutes played in sabotaging some of the goals of the Nazis flag 3 likesLike see review View 1 comment Jul 05, 2019 Lynn Horton rated it it was amazing A Woman of No Importance is one of the best, most interesting books I ve read in a very long time I highly recommend it.It would be hard to research a manuscript about a war heroine when records from that war are still largely classified, and even harder to write a manuscript about a person who preferred to keep her accomplishments private That research is further complicated when the subject conducted her daring escapades during a time when women weren t welcome in the boys club of OSS, the A Woman of No Importance is one of the best, most interesting books I ve read in a very long time I highly recommend it.It would be hard to research a manuscript about a war heroine when records from that war are still largely classified, and even harder to write a manuscript about a person who preferred to keep her accomplishments private That research is further complicated when the subject conducted her daring escapades during a time when women weren t welcome in the boys club of OSS, the CIA, and other intelligence agencies So hat s off to author Purnell for her dogged perserverence and determination to tell this story.The real star of this show is Virginia Hall, a woman whose contributions to WWII covert operations should be taught in school Honestly, I read international thriller and mystery, and Hall s story is as engaging as anything written by Silva, Thor, La Carre, Child, Ludlum or Clancy Further, Hall s story put a lot of what I already knew about WWII into perspective, placing people and names into a context I ve never had before and enabling me to better understand them VERY highly recommended flag 3 likesLike see review May 31, 2019 Chaitra rated it it was amazing Shelves biography, non fiction, world war ii, war, espionage, history I had never heard of Virginia Hall Which is a travesty Actually that s not quite true I don t know the names of the men either But I knew there were men spies I didn t know there was a woman spy, let alone one who was the backbone of the French Resistance, or that she overcame tremendous odds to establish her network and prepare the French and the British for the Allied Invasion.This is a wonderfully written book, meticulously researched and at times nail biting I ve always loved spy craft I had never heard of Virginia Hall Which is a travesty Actually that s not quite true I don t know the names of the men either But I knew there were men spies I didn t know there was a woman spy, let alone one who was the backbone of the French Resistance, or that she overcame tremendous odds to establish her network and prepare the French and the British for the Allied Invasion.This is a wonderfully written book, meticulously researched and at times nail biting I ve always loved spy craft, and it s great to read about the safe houses, couriers and escape routes, so carefully thought of by Virginia How tremendous her personality should have been for all these people to come together for her, risking their lives and those of their families Another reason I m grateful to the book is because I ve heard of the persecution of prostitutes after the war And it s always been presented as right, because of their collaboration with the Germans I don t know if I ve ever cheered for that persecution, but it also wasn t shocking Because collaboration and so on However, this book says explicitly that one of Virginia s best recruits was a madam, and that her girls wreaked all sorts of mischief on the Germans on her command It was an eye opener for me, and that casual heroism was something that I was very impressed by I wish these women were better recognized and better treated when they still were alive I m not surprised they were not But I m glad to be at least able to read about this remarkable woman and several others flag 4 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Aug 29, 2019 Nancy rated it really liked it Shelves historical, biography Yet another entry in to our mutual interest in learning about people involved in WWII Before the war, Virginia Hull was in the American foreign relations as a secretary in various embassies but she wanted to do She got herself in to the the British SIS and later into the American OSS And after the war she was one of a few women in the fledgling CIA She established herself when she was in southern France and started recruiting and training men and women for the Resistance And, al Yet another entry in to our mutual interest in learning about people involved in WWII Before the war, Virginia Hull was in the American foreign relations as a secretary in various embassies but she wanted to do She got herself in to the the British SIS and later into the American OSS And after the war she was one of a few women in the fledgling CIA She established herself when she was in southern France and started recruiting and training men and women for the Resistance And, although she was very distinctive physically tall, striking features, a limp because she lost part of one of her legs in a hunting accident she called her wooden leg Cuthbert the fascist forces were never able to pin her down She also directed plane drops of weapons, ammunition, and specially trained infiltrators My only reason for the loss of a star is that sometimes the author created truly clunky sentences which were especially obvious when I read them out loud flag 3 likesLike see review Jun 09, 2019 Cara rated it it was amazing Shelves biography, history We all know the fictional James Bond, the dashing English spy who swans his way around the world, picking up women and thwarting evildoers If he d been real, Virginia would have hated him His security measures are lax, his cover all too easily blown, often via his own handsome carelessness James Bond makes great fiction Virginia made a great spy.A remarkable biography pieced together from the fragments of history left behind those that are currently unclassified, anyway , Virginia Hall was We all know the fictional James Bond, the dashing English spy who swans his way around the world, picking up women and thwarting evildoers If he d been real, Virginia would have hated him His security measures are lax, his cover all too easily blown, often via his own handsome carelessness James Bond makes great fiction Virginia made a great spy.A remarkable biography pieced together from the fragments of history left behind those that are currently unclassified, anyway , Virginia Hall was unquestionably one of the unsung heroes of the resistance in France, and indeed in WWII in general And that was quite by design on her part, I suspect The attention that came with accolades would have inevitably made her job harder than it already was Rather than medals, she would have preferred to be listened to when she spoke and respected when she made orders, and with good reason Unlike the would be James Bond s in her treacherous field, Virginia knew what she was doing Despite close shaves, she was remarkably never caught by the Nazi s and spent the entire war working to liberate her beloved France from them This isn t to say she made no mistakes she was still human, after all but she did have the sort of quick reaction times and willingness to learn that meant she was ultimately able to correct hers and move on Not all of her fellow SOE members were so fortunate.She was a phenomenal woman and a phenomenal spy and it may not be an exaggeration to say the war would have gone very differently without her A worthwhile read flag 3 likesLike see review Jun 20, 2019 Laura Hoffman Brauman rated it it was amazing What an incredible story of bravery, courage, and dedication this non fiction reads like a thriller It s amazing to me that people don t know her story, but that s probably the way she wanted it She never wanted attention, just to be allowed to use her skills to fight the Nazis and help the people of France She spent most of the war living undercover in France, recruiting people to the resistance, and planning and executing dangerous missions Highly recommend this one flag 2 likesLike see review May 02, 2019 Bill rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves biography, espionage, history, non fiction She was dismissed and ignored and treated poorly and yet managed to become the premier linchpin of the French resistance during WWII She wasn t French She wasn t British She was an American woman with a wooden leg In spite of the multiple rejections and dismissals, her contribution to the Allied victory during the war earned her a Distinguished Service Cross Despite all the rejection simply because she was a woman she persisted Her contributions to the war effort read like fiction But She was dismissed and ignored and treated poorly and yet managed to become the premier linchpin of the French resistance during WWII She wasn t French She wasn t British She was an American woman with a wooden leg In spite of the multiple rejections and dismissals, her contribution to the Allied victory during the war earned her a Distinguished Service Cross Despite all the rejection simply because she was a woman she persisted Her contributions to the war effort read like fiction But it was no fiction that her work significantly shortened the Nazi occupation of France Sonia Purnell s work creating this biography adventure is masterful flag 2 likesLike see review Jun 09, 2019 Arista Kiffney rated it really liked it Really great I thought a lot of Virginia Hall before and I was still surprised by how tough a lady she was flag 2 likesLike see review Aug 18, 2019 Stephen Bauer rated it it was amazing Shelves history, biography In several internal reviews, histories, and appraisals within the OSS, SOE, and CIA, Virginia Hall was called the best female field agent of the time That raises the question of, who was the best agent, male or female Was she, in fact, better than any of the men, or was she still simply being put in a gender pigeon hole I cannot comment on the book without saying that despite the distance of over 70 decades, one still shudders with horror at the unimaginable torture and murders on the part of In several internal reviews, histories, and appraisals within the OSS, SOE, and CIA, Virginia Hall was called the best female field agent of the time That raises the question of, who was the best agent, male or female Was she, in fact, better than any of the men, or was she still simply being put in a gender pigeon hole I cannot comment on the book without saying that despite the distance of over 70 decades, one still shudders with horror at the unimaginable torture and murders on the part of the Third Reich And that so many German military personnel engaged in it As well, it is still shocking how many French civilians were willing to denounce or turn in fellow citizens to the Germans, but that is simply a reflection of our fallen nature, I suppose They did this for many reasons for financial or other gains because they agreed with the Nazi ideology, or because of personal vendetta Some collaborated merely because they believed the Nazis would win and wanted to be on the winning side Such an ungrateful bastard was Charles de Gaul He gave the Allies no credit for supplying, training, recruiting, and leading the French resistance He wanted the world to think the French drove the Nazis out of France all by themselves It was a public relations power play, of course, to set himself up to become the next head of state of France The man had no decency In contrast, the French people themselves had enormous gratitude for the Americans who liberated them So sad was Virginia Hall s career after the war Her wartime experiences as a field agent, both the successes and the failures, were far beyond anything in any James Bond movie They could easily make ten movies out of this book, and I look forward to them.Of the members of the OSS and SOE during the war, a few notorious traitors notwithstanding, their dedicated patriotism is unquestioned What drove Virginia Hall was her belief in freedom As shown in the book, the CIA turned almost instantly into a classic government bureaucracy, with all that that implies and governed by the seeming laws of nature that govern bureaucracies.How sad, not to mention sickly immoral, that once the war was over, we hired a large number of the evil Nazi bastards, to work for us, in the fight against communism How that must have nauseated the one time OSS and SOE rank and file, like Virginia Hall In remains to be seen by history whether the CIA is truly patriotic or whether they have become just another element of the deep state, just another institution concerned primarily with sustaining itself, just another political tool to be used by those in power Let s hope there are a few patriots left who understand what the Founding Fathers of the U.S actually aspired flag 1 likeLike see review Aug 12, 2019 Gordon rated it really liked it Shelves school When I finished reading What the Eyes Don t See by Mona Hanna Attisha, I sat down and wrote a little essay about the great women I ve read about I ve been lucky to know several in real life, but these women are historic In most cases, people down t know about Alice Paul or Hanna Attisha It s comfortable for historians to relax and trace the doings of men What seems to me is lost by this practice is that women frequently make contributions to the private world we all live, not the flashy, gun When I finished reading What the Eyes Don t See by Mona Hanna Attisha, I sat down and wrote a little essay about the great women I ve read about I ve been lucky to know several in real life, but these women are historic In most cases, people down t know about Alice Paul or Hanna Attisha It s comfortable for historians to relax and trace the doings of men What seems to me is lost by this practice is that women frequently make contributions to the private world we all live, not the flashy, gun powder permeated world of the high school history course We continue to be short changed by this insistence Our private lives, our democracy, what our children eat and how they behave are often determined by these women and overlooked by men and our society BUT, this book is not about our vote or our safe food or drink This book, ably and carefully researched and written by Sonia Purnell, chronicles the adventures of one of the bravest and least known warriors in World War II A woman from privilege, she immediately disqualified herself from battle by blowing off the bottom of her left leg in a hunting accident while she was pigeon holed in a dead end embassy job in Turkey She realized what was going to happen before her fellow country men or government came to their senses She asked for a posting near to the conflict to be in Europe and was refused Undaunted, she relocated to southern France Once there, under a cover of a US reporter, she began to run a spy ring for Winston Churchill s SOE, as referred to it, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare Had she been apprehended by the Nazi supporter in Vichy France or the Gestapo, but she kept running her vast organization of spies until the Nazi government made apprehending the woman who limps job one She took her crippled leg, whose prosthesis she dubbed Cuthbert and fled across the Pyrenees Unhappy in the desk job she was remanded to because the old boy network of the SOE didn t think a woman could or should run a spy ring, she took a small boat across a rough Channel, after having her teeth ground down, her hair died, and her gait modified so that she was thirty years older In spite of being hunted continually, she took up her old spy ring, when that collapsed with the destruction of Vichy France, she relocated to the plateaus in the middle of France s Swiss border What unfolds then, and her ultimate fate would be good in a book like the Bond series, if Bond was colder, tougher, and mythic Read the book Have your kids read the book They ll be proud to be Americans flag 1 likeLike see review Jul 24, 2019 Susanhayeshotmail rated it really liked it Five stars for the story of the incredible Virginia Hall, just three stars for the writing, averaging at a soft four stars This is truly an amazing story, Virginia Hall s contribution to the French resistance was tremendously important and went a great deal towards supporting the eventual Allied success of liberating France and the end of WWII However, despite good research the story is based on secondhand information should I have said secondary sources and towards the end of the book the Five stars for the story of the incredible Virginia Hall, just three stars for the writing, averaging at a soft four stars This is truly an amazing story, Virginia Hall s contribution to the French resistance was tremendously important and went a great deal towards supporting the eventual Allied success of liberating France and the end of WWII However, despite good research the story is based on secondhand information should I have said secondary sources and towards the end of the book the names and code names just began to overwhelm and I couldn t keep track of who was who or where exactly they were operating any There was a map of France, on that in a minute, and a list of characters before the table of contents, but these were only somewhat helpful Several maps depicting Virginia s travels reflecting when she was where, simultaneously showing what was going on with German troop movements at the time, sprinkled throughout sections of the book would have been helpful to me I m not well traveled, s the pity, but I can find Paris and Marseilles on the map, come pretty close to pinning down Calais, Dunkirk, and Normandy, and know where The English Channel, The Alps, The Mediterranean Sea, and the Pyrenees line up in conjunction with France s borders, but otherwise, I was obliged to either flip back and forth to the solitary map or remain lost Virginia Hall was a private person and I imagine that much of her work remained classified for a very long time, some of it may still be classified for all I know I also suspect that given the high degree of secrecy required by the extreme danger she faced during those days, and seeing the devastating results of the failure to maintain that level of security, would tend to make one less of a Chatty Cathy going forward Which is to say, I understand why there is not much from Virginia s own hand or own self in these pages It is not a memoir Perhaps if I d known that going in I d have found myself satisfied with the story as it is told Petty complaints aside, I am not mad I read this story, and would recommend it to anyone interested in WWII France Or feminism You will find a talented and highly skilled woman of grit, whose determination to do something when so few seemed to be doing anything, did than just her bit to bring an end WWII All while laboring under the limits of sexist bureaucracy and a significant disability that may have slowed her down physically and put her at an even higher risk of discovery, none of which she let stop her This is a story I think I d like to see made into a movie, without too much Hollywood meddling It s a heckuva an adventure flag 1 likeLike see review Jun 05, 2019 Becky rated it liked it Shelves 2019goodrule new, librarybook, 2019reviews First sentence France was falling.Premise plot A Woman of No Importance is a biography of Virginia Hall She came from an upper class background Though her parents may have had certain expectations for her a good marriage, raising a family, etc She had plans of her own These plans would include getting entangled in politics and government Her dream job would be to work for the State Department and serve overseas Realizing this dream in reality was a seemingly impossible quest She faced First sentence France was falling.Premise plot A Woman of No Importance is a biography of Virginia Hall She came from an upper class background Though her parents may have had certain expectations for her a good marriage, raising a family, etc She had plans of her own These plans would include getting entangled in politics and government Her dream job would be to work for the State Department and serve overseas Realizing this dream in reality was a seemingly impossible quest She faced discrimination certainly It didn t help her cause that others saw her as a cripple or disabled A hunting accident had led to an amputation of a leg But capable she was Capable she d prove herself to be over and over and over and over again If there was no place for her to serve America, perhaps she d serve France or Britain Ultimately this is what she did She served for a time as an ambulance driver in France at the start of the war After France fell, she went to Britain where she became involved with a spy unit, SOE, she d go to France undercover as an innocent American journalist socialite She d be a spy and resistance leader The book focuses extensively on the war years One gets a behind the scenes glimpse of what it was like to be a spy the dangers, the risks, the sacrifices and hardships Hall faced challenge after challenge with bravery and gumption.My thoughts This one was packed with details It is a complex biography with dozens if not hundreds of names and code names It provides details of spy rings and resistance operations It is complicated to keep everything straight Her story would make a lovely documentary or bio flick Perhaps seeing it on the screen would help There would certainly be enough suspense and drama to keep you watching.It is an interesting and important read Some of the challenges Hall faced were because of her sex and or disability There were men who did NOT want to take orders or be under the authority of a woman, even a strong, competent woman who had proved herself through experience She was not in the military, she had no title rank to give her the power to enforce her authority There were spies that were reckless and careless with their business Not knowing or caring that they were endangering everyone in the spy ring by their behavior.This is the kind of book you would expect to be super compelling and intense I didn t find it so I found it on the dry, almost boring side very mechanical flag 1 likeLike see review View 2 comments Aug 13, 2019 Libby rated it it was amazing Shelves audiobook, historical, non fiction Want to hear the fantastic true story of an American female working for the British S.O.E aka spies to develop the French resistance during WWII All while having a wooden leg Well, have I got the story for you This story is nothing short of amazing It tells the story of a woman you ve probably never heard of but definitely should have , Virginia Hall, who will truly not take no for an answer All she wants to do is help out during the war, but because of her being a woman clea Want to hear the fantastic true story of an American female working for the British S.O.E aka spies to develop the French resistance during WWII All while having a wooden leg Well, have I got the story for you This story is nothing short of amazing It tells the story of a woman you ve probably never heard of but definitely should have , Virginia Hall, who will truly not take no for an answer All she wants to do is help out during the war, but because of her being a woman clearly inferior, duh , no one will let her That is, until the British take her on Not only does she go so far above and beyond, but she really, truly helps foment the French resistance to help win the war There is so much going on in this story daring prison escapes Double agents crossing The Pyrenees In the snow Something many like, a lot die doing And lives With a wooden leg All the good spy things Seriously, someone please make a movie They don t even have to over Hollywood ize it to make it dramatic and fantastic.It s an awesome story Dare I saw awe inspiring I do dare All of this is not to say that it isn t hard to hear about the barriers she faces It is It s frustrating to hear that she s consistently stuck at desk jobs despite her clear willingness and capability to serve in a different capacity But my goodness, she really does so much, even despite said barriers.I also learned a lot I had no idea how occupied the French actually were during the war The author uses the term Nazi Puppet State at one point, and I simply hadn t realized how severe it actually was I should have, considering my extensive study of French and France, but alas, I didn t often learn about recent French historyclearly They were, in effect, working for the Nazis, and it seems that many had truly given up hope The resistance was lagging Thanks Virginia, for pulling it out Lastly, the audiobook is narrated by Juliet Stevenson, who does a great job I recognized her voice from having read another audiobook to me, only to find out that I knew her from movies too flag 1 likeLike see review View 2 comments previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next new topicDiscuss This Book topics posts views last activity Madison Mega Mara 44 A Woman of No Importance 1 3 Jun 20, 2019 02 41PM Mt Lebanon Publi A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell 1 4 Jun 11, 2019 04 29PM Librari Combine Editions A Woman of No Importance The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell 2 13 May 09, 2019 02 27AM More topics Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Genres Nonfiction 207 users History 199 users Biography 123 users War World War II 56 users War 30 users Spy Thriller Espionage 29 users See top shelves About Sonia Purnell Sonia Purnell 104 followers Sonia Purnell is a biographer and journalist who has worked at The Economist, The Telegraph, and The Sunday Times Her book Clementine The Life of Mrs Winston Churchill published as First Lady in the UK was chosen as a book of the year by The Telegraph and The Independent, and was a finalist for the Plutarch Award Her first book, Just Boris, was longlisted for the Orwell prize Books by Sonia Purnell More Trivia About A Woman of No Imp No trivia or quizzes yet Add some now Quotes from A Woman of No Imp Virginia nevertheless made an instant impression at work, conducting her duties coding and decoding telegrams, dealing with the mail, processing diplomatic visas, and dispatching reports back to Washington on the increasingly tense political situation 0 likes fashionable women in Paris the so called gar onnes were positively expected to be independent, athletic, and androgynous in appearance, and to work and love as they pleased 0 likes More quotes renderRatingGraph 1256, 1033, 296, 46, 15 if rating_details rating_detailssert top rating_graph Company About us Careers Terms Privacy Help Work with us Authors Advertise Authors ads blog API Connect 2019 , Inc Mobile version

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    • ↠ A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II || Æ PDF Download by ☆ Sonia Purnell
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    About "Sonia Purnell"

    1. Sonia Purnell

      Sonia Purnell is a biographer and journalist who has worked at The Economist, The Telegraph, and The Sunday Times Her book Clementine The Life of Mrs Winston Churchill published as First Lady in the UK was chosen as a book of the year by The Telegraph and The Independent, and was a finalist for the Plutarch Award Her first book, Just Boris, was longlisted for the Orwell prize.

    761 thoughts on “A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II”

    1. Virginia Hall April 6, 1906 July 8, 1982 was an American spy, working first with the British Special Operations Executive SOE and then later with the American Office of Strategic Services OSS during World War II, primarily in France After the war she was honored with awards in the US, France and Britain receiving the American Distinguished Service Cross DSC , the French Croix de Guerre and made an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire MBE The DSC was the only one awarde Virginia Hal [...]


    2. I recently read a novel about a couple who had worked with the French Resistance and it made me want to read a nonfiction account A Woman of No Importance gave me than I had hoped for I am almost completely ignorant about the French Resistance but still it s kind of shocking that I had never heard of the accomplishments of Virginia Hall Virginia was an American woman who wanted to be a diplomat, rather than marrying well as her mother preferred, at a time when that wasn t really done I recently [...]


    3. 3.5 The content is 5 stars This was an absolutely fascinating story, and I would love to go back in time and have dinner with Virginia Hall and just pump her for stories because damn She would have some good stories However, the reason I took off stars was the writing While I finished the book in just a few days this is a great subway read and it s very engaging while you re reading, it feels very surface level I would have appreciated time developing side characters besides two or 3.5 The cont [...]


    4. Purnell has penned another spectacular history of another outstanding woman I was enad with the first history of Clementine Churchill I loved that one And this tale of the exploits of Virginia Hall just blew me out of the water This woman was unstoppable, unflappable and fearless in her desire to serve in WWII She was the primary developer of the French Resistance and worked for the British Secret Service as well the American OSS She struggled for 6 years in France working to defeat Purnell has [...]


    5. I loved this story To read listen to the book is to have an immersive experience in the emergence of the French Resistance and the life of the eccentric American woman who worked for the UK and was at the center of the Resistance in Europe The spycraft stories are gripping and the human lives lost are heartbreaking Also heartbreaking and simply maddening is the disdain and apathy and sexist treatment given to Virginia Hall in the OSS and postwar CIA The audiobook is read by the award winn [...]


    6. This book tells the important story of an unrecognized hero of World War II Virginia Hall, one of the few female spies who helped build the French Resistance and assure the success of the Allied invasion of France Purnell s stunningly detailed research and writing puts us in the action with Virginia, building up tension, emotion and joy as events unfold Purnell also includes the perfect amount of historical context, to ensure that the reader isn t left drowning While the many code names and This [...]


    7. I have never been a big history buff Perhaps it is something that happens as one collects decades in one s life, but if I had read books like Sonia Purnell s A Woman of No Importance , I would have known that history is a fascinating subject This non fiction saga covers the incredibly successful, albeit unlikely, career of Virginia Hall, a woman who defied the odds by becoming a very reliable British Special Operation Executive agent in France in World War II.Virginia, called Dindy by I [...]


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