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A Life in Secrets

Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII
Narrated by: Nicola Barber
Length: 19 hrs and 19 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)
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Summary

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 12 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.

©2008 Sarah Helm (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Brilliant...One can only admire the way that Helm put together all the pieces of the puzzle.” (The Washington Post)

 “Fascinating...Compelling...Gripping...A stupendous job of reporting.” (The New York Times)

“Helm's account is a chilling reminder of the ghastliness of WWII.” (Entertainment Weekly)

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Fascinating history of SOE operations WWII

This is a meticulously researched book . The author uses this biography of a key figure to delve into and document complex interactions between agencies and enemies during and after WW2. Her research leads the author to interview and meet numerous people -often descendants - from both sides . Through records , from a diverse range of worldwide sources , a compelling picture is painted of the central figure Vera Atkins, the SOE staff , the secret agents , the role of German officials and officers , resistance members , the horror of imprisonments suffered , the strangeness of the war crimes trials, and the many unanswered questions . This book spells out clearly the repeated and serious errors of judgement made by Maurice Buckminister which led to the death of many agents and resistors in France . The post war period is very well described. This is a serious book well worth reading (or listening to ) for anyone interested in WW2 in Europe . It presents a more realistic view of the role of SOE operations than that portrayed in more popular books and films . Congratulations to Sarah Helm .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Aoibheann
  • 30-10-18

Fascinating history of SOE operations WWII

This is a meticulously researched book . The author uses this biography of a key figure to delve into and document complex interactions between agencies and enemies during and after WW2. Her research leads the author to interview and meet numerous people -often descendants - from both sides . Through records , from a diverse range of worldwide sources , a compelling picture is painted of the central figure Vera Atkins, the SOE staff , the secret agents , the role of German officials and officers , resistance members , the horror of imprisonments suffered , the strangeness of the war crimes trials, and the many unanswered questions . This book spells out clearly the repeated and serious errors of judgement made by Maurice Buckminister which led to the death of many agents and resistors in France . The post war period is very well described. This is a serious book well worth reading (or listening to ) for anyone interested in WW2 in Europe . It presents a more realistic view of the role of SOE operations than that portrayed in more popular books and films . Congratulations to Sarah Helm .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful