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Erican who was the first woman sent by the allies to set up cells and send back information as part of the French Resistance She worked with a major handicap one prosthetic leg which gave her a very recognizable walk She ended the war being one of the most wanted women by the Germans but this did not stop her She changed her walk her looks and set up operations that were integral to the allied forces in retaking France At one time she has 400 Resistance Volunteers Running Resistance volunteers running which she herself plannedAt wars end she was not treated fairly her 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 A Woman of No Importance gave me than I had hoped for 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 uniue skills What can ou 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 uite cinematic It really should be made into a movie and everyone should know about Virginia Hall Courage Bravery Resilience thy name is Virginia Hall I am willing to bet ou never heard of this woman as I know with all my time spent in school that I never did Yet this woman was responsible for establishing an enormous amount of spy networks through out France making her a person the Nazis were dying to find capture and eliminate She came from wealth lost her leg in a hunting accident and et nothing held Virginia back Even after escaping because the Nazis were hot on her trail across a mountain pass where so many others had perished she went back into France into danger into a perilous environment where her life constantly was in dangerYes she was a woman and because of that was oftentimes looked down upon by men denied awards because they weren t given to women and after the war ended she arrived at the newly established CIA and was relegated to a job sitting at a deskVirginia never let anything stand in her way She was resourceful brilliant and a true patriot dedicated to put an end to the evil that pervaded the world especially that present in France Her contributions were monumental truly a major asset to ending the warSonia Purnell did an amazing job of portraying this woman her research was stellar and she was able to give to readers a portrait of a woman who history really had little knowledge of Recommended to those who love learning the little known but highly important facts that led us to the end of the horrendous Nazi regimeThank ou to Sonia Purcell Viking and Edelweiss for a copy of this amazing story How are we not all aware of this incredible woman This needs to be reuired reading for everyone. Face covered WANTED posters throughout Europe Virginia refused order after order to evacuate She finally escaped with her life in a grueling hike over the Pyrenees into Spain her cover blown and her associates all imprisoned or executed But adamant that she had lives to save she dove back in as soon as she could organizing forces to sabotage enemy lines and back up Allied forces landing on Normandy beaches Told with Purnell's signature insight and novelistic flare A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman's fierce persistence helped win the .

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Nd it s very engaging while ou 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 uickly A month would pass and we would be told that Virginia uickly A month would pass and we would be told that Virginia 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 acuired 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 And a Bottle of Rum you read the acknowledgementsou 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 feltthoughtetc 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 "stars hands down Virginia Hall is a badass and is 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 feltthought those things and it Excellent story disappointing deliveryHow do Crochet you take a spy story of a strong female heroine with a prosthetic leg and wild adventures and make it mundane You suck all the fun out and make it a dry repetitive slog aka this bookIt wasn t that horrible it is truly an amazing part of history it was just the way Purnell wrote it that sapped it Should have either had a better editor or been 100 150 pages shorter This is the biography of one of the first women to become a front line secret agent who left America during the Great Depression suffered her leg being partially amputated and ended up helping to found what became known as the French resistance What a bloody woman I love the fact that in recentears and formidable women are being brought out of shadows of obscurity by wonderful authors That their rightful place in history is being applauded and restored at last recognized for their talents and braveryVirginia Hall is one such woman an Am. One of the greatest spies in American history Playhouse yet her story remains untold Just as she did in Clementine Sonia Purnell uncovers the captivating story of a powerful influentialet shockingly overlooked heroine of the Second World War At a time when sending female secret agents into enemy territory was still strictly forbidden Virginia Hall came to be known as the Madonna of the Resistance coordinating a network of spies to blow up bridges report on German troop movements arrange euipment drops for Resistance agents and recruit and train guerilla fighters Even as her. .

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 Frenc I had never heard of Virginia Hall before the release of Sonia Purnell s biography A Woman of No Importance The Untold Story of the American Spy of No Importance The Untold Story of the American Spy Helped Win World War II Virginia Hall would be okay with her anonymity since she never sought fame or recompense In okay with her anonymity since she never sought fame or recompense In of her heroics and brilliant tactics as a spy for the British SOE and later for the American OSS Virginia Hall was pigeonholed as a disabled woman of no importance She was often under utilized and always under estimated simply because she was a woman in a man s war Yet she had a fierce drive to exceed in helping the Allies build up the French Resistance and overcome Nazism In this compelling biography Sonia Purnell shows the reader why Virginia Hall s life exemplifies How adversity and rejection and suffering can sometimes turn in the end into resolve and ultimately triumph even against the backdrop of a horrifying conflict that casts its long shadow over the way we live today Virginia Hall was a real life kick ass wonder womanIn spite of being an amputee Virginia Hall was responsible for prodigious activities that had a great impact on the Allies success in France She organized trained and armed resistance groups in spite of their internal feuding and machoism she set up safe houses planned ambushes blowing up bridges and a prison break of twelve British agents from Mauzac prison camp houses planned ambushes blowing up bridges and a prison break of twelve British agents from Mauzac prison camp though she was disabled she was able to walk across a mountain pass to escape the Nazis Her organizational abilities were beyond compare Klaus Barbie was intent on finding and destroying her calling her the enemy s most dangerous spy She is remembered by the males who worked under her for teaching tolerance friendship without calculation and a true notion of service to one s country After the war Virginia went to work for the newly formed CIA However she was the subject of workplace unfairness because she was a woman with strong opinions She was often unhappy with her assignments that would relegate her to a boring desk job Her better ideas were given to male counterparts to carry out There are six facets to today s CIA ethos with Service being the first Virginia was chosen to represent Service but the CIA failed to identify her as a trailblazer officer who shaped the agency s history Her shoddy treatment was later cited within the CIA itself as a textbook case of discrimination The author has done an excellent job of detailing Virginia s numerous activities There was a cast of many characters that made it hard to keep up with at times Even Virginia s artificial leg had its own name Fortunately there is a list at the beginning of the book that gives the main player s names and code names45 Stars Bookclub recommended This is the December 2019 January 2020 non fiction group selection for the Goodreads Reading For Pleasure Book Club of which I am a memberFor my review that also has a recipe for Chicken Divan to go with it check out my ad free blog wwwkerrinsbookreviewscom 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 35The 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 The never before told story of one woman's heroism that changed the course of the Second World War In 1942 the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies We must find and destroy herThis spy was Virginia Hall a oung American woman rejected from the foreign service because of her gender and her prosthetic leg who talked her way into the spy organization deemed Churchill's ministry of ungentlemanly warfare and before the United States had even entered the war became the first woman to deploy to occupied FranceVirginia Hall was. ,
A Woman of No Importance The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

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