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A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of Virginia Hall, WWII's Most Dangerous Spy

Sonia Purnell

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Little Brown
01 March 2020
Biography; Biography: historical, political & military; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000; Second World War; Espionage & secret services
***A New York Times bestseller*** 'Riveting' Mick Herron, New York Times * 'A rousing tale' The Times, Book of the Week * 'Cracking' Telegraph * 'Gripping' Irish Times * 'Brilliant' Evening Standard * 'Excellent' Spectator In September 1941, a young American woman strides up the steps of a hotel in Lyon, Vichy France. Her papers say she is a journalist. Her wooden leg is disguised by a determined gait and a distracting beauty. She is there to spark the resistance.

By 1942 Virginia Hall was the Gestapo's most urgent target, having infiltrated Vichy command, trained civilians in guerrilla warfare and sprung soldiers from Nazi prison camps. The first woman to go undercover for British SOE, her intelligence changed the course of the war - but her fight was still not over.

This is a spy history like no other, telling the story of the hunting accident that disabled her, the discrimination she fought and the secret life that helped her triumph over shocking adversity.
By:   Sonia Purnell
Imprint:   Little Brown
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 196mm,  Width: 126mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   337g
ISBN:   9780349010168
ISBN 10:   0349010161
Pages:   416
Publication Date:   01 March 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sonia Purnell is an author, journalist and broadcaster. Her first book, Just Boris, was longlisted for the Orwell Prize; her second, First Lady, was shortlisted for the Plutarch Prize. Sonia writes for several newspapers and is a regular broadcaster in Britain and abroad. She lives in London.

Reviews for A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of Virginia Hall, WWII's Most Dangerous Spy

Purnell's account of Hall's hectic, amphetamine-fuelled exploits never falters. It recalls Caroline Moorehead's wonderful book, Village of Secrets, but has an added touch of Ben Macintyre's brio ... A rousing tale of derring-do' - The Times, Book of the Week Soon to be a film starring Daisy Ridley, Purnell's life of the SOE agent Virginia Hall is a cracking story about an extraordinarily brave woman - Telegraph Best Holiday Beach Reads The extraordinary facts of [Hall's] life are brought onto the page here with a well-judged balance of empathy and fine detail. This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down - New York Times Riveting ... one of the most breath-taking stories yet told of female courage behind enemy lines ... An intimate and moving portrayal - Sarah Helm, author of If This Is A Woman and A Life In Secrets Brimming with moving tales of courage in the face of tyranny, this is a worthy tribute to an incredible figure - Sunday Mirror Purnell mixes telling detail with narrative verve to convey both the excitements of Hall's precarious existence and the force of her indomitable spirit - Mail on Sunday With her thriller-writer's style and copious new research, Purnell has written a fitting and moving tribute to an amazing woman - The Economist


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