HISTORY

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II

Crown. Apr. 2019. 400p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780451495082. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780451495105. HIST
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In 1942, desperate to employ any means necessary to resist the relentless progress toward what seemed an inevitable Nazi victory, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) took the radical and controversial step of recruiting women as secret agents for the first time. Rose (For All the Tea in China) follows the story of a handful of these female saboteurs, trained in England and parachuted into occupied France to transmit intelligence, destroy power lines, and disrupt the German war machine at risk of imprisonment and death. Based on interviews, diaries, and declassified archives, Rose’s history of the women of the SOE details the gritty heroism of these British agents who lived through the worst days of World War II and helped keep the French Resistance alive until D-Day at the cost of their own freedom, families, and lives. Readers who enjoyed Damien Lewis’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare will find this a fascinatingly different facet of the SOE; unlike those special-ops commandos, the agents here had to survive invisibly in the guise of civilians, and later vanish into cover identities once again.
VERDICT A solid read highlighting women’s heroism and resistance during World War II and beyond.

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