The incredible untold story of Virginia Hall, an American woman with a wooden leg who infiltrated Occupied France for the SOE and became the Gestapo's most wanted Allied spy, written by acclaimed biographer Sonia Purnell.
In 1942, the Gestapo would stop at nothing to track down a mysterious 'limping lady' who was fighting for the freedom of France. The Nazi chiefs issued a simple but urgent command: 'She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.'
The Gestapo's target was Virginia Hall, a glamorous American with a wooden leg who broke through the barriers against her gender and disability to be the first woman to infiltrate Vichy France for the SOE. In so doing she helped turn the course of the intelligence war.
This is the epic tale of an heiress who determined that a hunting accident would not define her existence; a young woman who gambled her life to fight for the freedoms she believed in; an espionage novice who helped to light the flame of French Resistance.
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.
About the Author
Sonia Purnell is a biographer and journalist who has written for The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and The Sunday Times. Her book First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill was a book of the year in the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and Lenny Letter, and was shortlisted for the Plutarch Award for Best Biography. Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, was longlisted for the Orwell prize.
A gripping, relevant and timely read about a remarkable woman from a talented writer - Deborah Frances-White, author of The Guilty FeministRiveting ... one of the most breath-taking stories yet told of female courage behind enemy lines
- Sarah Helm, author of If This Is A Woman and A Life In SecretsImpressively researched and compellingly written
, this brilliant
biography puts Virginia Hall - and her prosthetic leg Cuthbert - back where they belong: right in the heart of resistance history - Clare Mulley, author of The Spy Who Loved and The Women Who Flew for Hitler
What a fascinating
story! With careful research and skillful writing
, Purnell takes you deep into the covert operations Hall led in Nazi-occupied France ... Riveting
- Douglas Waller, author of Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American EspionageRemarkable
... this lively
examination... 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
... Meticulous research results in a significant biography of a trailblazer
who now has a CIA building named after her - Kirkus Reviews
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 26th March 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.8
Weight (kg): 0.57
Edition Number: 1