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Here is the extraordinary account of the woman whose intelligence, beauty and unflagging dedication proved the key in turning the tide of WWII.
From an award-winning journalist comes this real-life cloak-and-dagger tale of Vera Atkins, one of Britain’s premiere secret agents during World War II. As the head of the French Section of the British Special Operations Executive, Vera Atkins recruited, trained, and mentored special operatives whose job was to organize and arm the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. After the war, Atkins courageously committed herself to a dangerous search for twelve of her most cherished women spies who had gone missing in action. Drawing on previously unavailable sources, Sarah Helm chronicles Atkins’s extraordinary life and her singular journey through the chaos of post-war Europe. Brimming with intrigue, heroics, honor, and the horrors of war, A Life in Secrets is the story of a grand, elusive woman and a tour de force of investigative journalism.
"Judith Pearson does a remarkable job of bringing one of America's greatest spies back to life. I highly recommend this story of derring-do and white knuckles suspense." —Patrick O'Donnell, Combat Historian and Author of Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs The remarkable story of one of WWII’s greatest spies. Virginia Hall left her comfortable Baltimore roots in 1931 to follow a dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer. After watching Hitler roll over Poland and France, she enlisted to work for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), a secret espionage and sabotage organization. She was soon deployed to occupied France where, if captured, imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Gestapo was all but assured. Against such an ominous backdrop, Hall managed to locate drop zones for money and weapons, helped escaped POWs and downed Allied airmen flee to England, and secured safe houses for agents. And she did it all on one leg: Virginia Hall had lost her left leg before the war in a hunting accident. Soon, wanted posters appeared throughout France, offering a reward for her capture. By winter of 1942, Hall had to flee France via the only route possible: a hike on foot through the frozen Pyrénées Mountains into neutral Spain. Upon her return to England, the American espionage organization, the Office of Special Services, recruited her and sent her back to France disguised as an old peasant woman. While there, she was responsible for killing 150 German soldiers and capturing 500 others. Sabotaging communications and transportation links and directing resistance activities, her work helped change the course of the war. This is the true story of Virginia Hall. "Riveting..." —Publishers Weekly
A New York Times Best Seller! The classic real-life story of the superspy whose vast intelligence network helped defeat the Nazis in World War II. A Man Called Intrepid is the account of the world’s first integrated intelligence operation and of its master, William Stephenson. Codenamed INTREPID by Winston Churchill, Stephenson was charged with establishing—and running—a vast, worldwide intelligence network to challenge the terrifying force of Nazi Germany. Nothing less than the fate of Britain and the free world hung in the balance as INTREPID covertly set about stalling the Nazis by any means necessary. First published in 1976, A Man Called Intrepid was an immediate bestseller. With over thirty black-and-white photographs and countless World War II secrets, this book revealed startling information that had remained buried for decades. Detailing the infamous “Camp X” training center in Ontario, Canada; the miraculous breaking of the Ultra Code used by the Enigma Machine; and dozens of other stories of clandestine missions, A Man Called Intrepid is an undisputed modern classic. Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Odette Brailly entered the nation's consciousness in the 1950s when her remarkable—and romantic—exploits as an SOE agent first came to light. She had been the first woman to be awarded the GC, as well as the Legion d'Honneur, and in 1950 the release of a film about her life made her the darling of the British popular press. But others openly questioned Odette's personal and professional integrity, even claiming that she had a clandestine affair with her supervisor Captain Peter Churchill. In the first full biography of this incredible woman for nearly 60 years, it delves into recently opened SOE personnel files to reveal the true story of this wartime heroine and the officer who posed as her husband. From her life as a French housewife living in Britain and her undercover work with the French Resistance, to her arrest, torture, and unlikely survival in Ravensbruck concentration camp, it is revealed for the first time the truth of Odette's mission.
Pearl Witherington Cornioley, one of the most celebrated female World War II resistance fighters, shares her remarkable story in this firsthand account of her experience as a special agent for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Told through a series of reminiscences—from a difficult childhood spent in the shadow of World War I and her family’s harrowing escape from France as the Germans approached in 1940 to her recruitment and training as a special agent and the logistics of parachuting into a remote rural area of occupied France and hiding in a wheat field from enemy fire—each chapter also includes helpful opening remarks to provide context and background on the SOE and the French Resistance. With an annotated list of key figures, an appendix of original unedited interview extracts—including Pearl’s fiancé Henri’s story—and fascinating photographs and documents from Pearl’s personal collection, this memoir will captivate World War II buffs of any age.
"[T]he amazing story of a woman who lived through one of the worst times in human history, losing family members to the Nazis but surviving with her spirit and integrity intact.” —Publishers Weekly Marthe Cohn was a young Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. Her family sheltered Jews fleeing the Nazis, including Jewish children sent away by their terrified parents. But soon her homeland was also under Nazi rule. As the Nazi occupation escalated, Marthe’s sister was arrested and sent to Auschwitz and the rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France. Always a fighter, Marthe joined the French Army and became a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army. Marthe, using her perfect German accent and blond hair to pose as a young German nurse who was desperately trying to obtain word of a fictional fiancé, would slip behind enemy lines to retrieve inside information about Nazi troop movements. By traveling throughout the countryside and approaching troops sympathetic to her plight--risking death every time she did so--she learned where they were going next and was able to alert Allied commanders. When, at the age of eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Médaille Militaire, not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman had helped defeat the Nazi empire. At its heart, this remarkable memoir is the tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country needed her to be.

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