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Women in Intelligence : The Hidden History of Two World Wars - Helen Fry

Women in Intelligence

The Hidden History of Two World Wars

By: Helen Fry

Paperback | 10 July 2024 | Edition Number 1

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A groundbreaking history of women in British intelligence, revealing their pivotal role across the first half of the twentieth century

From the twentieth century onward, women took on an extraordinary range of roles in intelligence, defying the conventions of their time. Across both world wars, far from being a small part of covert operations, women ran spy networks and escape lines, parachuted behind enemy lines, and interrogated prisoners. And, back in Bletchley and Whitehall, women's vital administrative work in MI offices kept the British war engine running.

In this major, panoramic history, Helen Fry looks at the rich and varied work women undertook as civilians and in uniform. From spies in the Belgian network "La Dame Blanche," knitting coded messages into jumpers, to those who interpreted aerial images and even ran entire sections, Fry shows just how crucial women were in the intelligence mission. Filled with hitherto unknown stories, Women in Intelligence places new research on record for the first time and showcases the inspirational contributions of these remarkable women.

Industry Reviews
"[Fry] has fulfilled the task she set herself: that of putting these women on the map, testifying to their number and courage and providing an invaluable handbook for future scholars."-Caroline Moorehead, The Spectator

"Sexy female spies are a myth and women in intelligence looked more like secretaries than Bond girls."-Anita Singh, The Telegraph

"After reading Women in Intelligence no-one can doubt the significant contribution women made to every aspect of military intelligence. . . . This is a book that will inspire PhD students for decades."-Debbie Kilroy, GetHistory

"This important book provides a vital corrective to the decades of history and analysis that have ignored or minimized the contributions of British women to the intelligence operations that helped the Allies win two world wars."-Lena Andrews, Cipher Brief

"Last year's brilliant book by Helen Fry revealed that Cavell's work with British intelligence went much further than assisting stranded soldiers. . . . Even a century later, then, there are stories to be uncovered."-Angus Reilly, The Telegraph

"Fry puts the oft-forgotten female heroes at the forefront of her revisionist history."-Saskia Kemsley, Evening Standard

"Helen Fry . . . has achieved something of deep importance with Women in Intelligence. It closes many of the gaps in the history of women's contribution to both world wars."-Intelligence Corps Association Journal

"[Fry's] latest book, Women in Intelligence, offers a captivating journey into the lives of these often-overlooked heroines."-Ella Sampson, northdevontoday

"This is an exceptional book and full of interesting revelations. . . . As Dr Fry concludes: 'Still so much of women's work is obscured by secrecy."-Melody Foreman, Britain at War

"Beware-this is a book full of danger and deception, sabotage and secret codes, and some brilliant, unstoppable women."-Clare Mulley, author of The Spy Who Loved

"This account is long overdue. Helen Fry redresses the relative neglect of the contribution of women as intelligence officers and agents during and between the two world wars, with gripping personal stories of bravery, grit and analytic brilliance."-Sir David Omand GCB, former director of GCHQ

"A superb introduction to the role of women in some of the most fascinating and secretive organisations of the two world wars. Fry brings to the fore stories of bravery, self-sacrifice and the ingenuity of women working in intelligence, all told with her usual inimitable style."-Kate Vigurs, author of Mission France

"Much needed and extremely important. I was hooked from start to finish and found it very emotionally evocative. There has never been an attempt to bring together all the strands of the story, and this book shows the full and impressive picture of women's contributions in two world wars."-Sarah-Louise Miller, author of The Women Behind the Few

"A fascinating, minutely researched study of women in the espionage business."-Nigel West, author of Spies Who Changed History

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