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A Woman of No Importance

The Untold Story of WWII’s Most Dangerous Spy, Virginia Hall
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
5 out of 5 stars (99 ratings)

Regular price: £19.99

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Summary

The incredible true and untold story of Virginia Hall, an American woman with a wooden leg who infiltrated Occupied France for the SOE and became the Gestapo's most wanted Allied spy, by acclaimed biographer Sonia Purnell.  

The remarkable double life of an American-turned-British spy, Virginia Hall, a 'bolshie' woman from Maryland who, determined to overcome a physical disability that threatened to define her life, successfully infiltrated Vichy France for England's SOE before America's entry into WWII and then, three years later, for the SOS, providing crucial intelligence and logistics for the mounting French Resistance and, later, Allied troops.  

This is a compelling and inspiring tale of resistance, heroism, spycraft and overcoming prejudice, based on brand-new and extensive research, for anyone who loves reading Ben Macintyre, Rick Stroud's Lonely Courage or Sarah Helm's A Life in Secrets.

©2019 Sonia Purnell (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

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Outstanding story of a remarkable woman

One of the most riveting and remarkable stories of courage and ingenuity in the face of incredible adversity.
Virginia Hall was a truly astonishing woman whose accomplishments put legions of her contemporary Male
collaborators and bosses to shame. She deserves to be celebrated and I volunteer to make a statue to commemorate her.I will ,listen to this book again and again for I inspiration.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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An astonishing, humbling story.

Brilliantly told, brilliantly read. The scale of Virginia Hall’s achievement is remarkable and the book is biography, history and thriller all at once.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful account of an amazing woman

Virginia Hall was an amazing woman, an effective and trailblazing SOE operative. Deapite being ruthlessly hunted by the German authorities continued to evade them all whilst organising effective networks and sabotage raids. Her work in Lyon turned her to the go to problem solver of many allied operatives, often compromising her own safety she helped them in whatever way possible. Often facing discrimination from top brass and resistance operatives on the ground due to being a woman but she was indefatigable.
At one point Virginia was forced to escape France via the Pyrenees when the Nazis seized the free zone. This would have been a feat of endurance for anyone let alone someone who had lost one of their legs.
As with most true hero’s Virginia was never given the respect or opportunities she deserved and had indeed earned after the war.
The book is very well written, much better than other books I have listened to. Highly recommend

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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A remarkable story.

A remarkable story, a 'must' read executed brilliantly by Juliet Stevenson. Unbelievable but sadly believable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Inspirational story of an American heroine

Purnell tells the story of this unlikely American heroine extremely well. Its one of those brilliant stories which is as inspiring as it is thrilling. Hungry for a career and adventure in Europe, Virginia Hall, fell into her role as a spy largely by accident, serving two tours of duty as an agent in occupied France first for the British SOE and secondly for the American OSS. Her conventional upbringing and disability notwithstanding, she turned out to be a brilliant foreign operative who avoided capture again and again, despite her courageous and daring conduct.

Strangely there are no reviews of the book by Audible.com users, ie. Americans. But then its written by a British writer. And I only came across this book as I had heard of Purnell as a biographer of Boris Johnson, incidentally an excellent book though not available on Audible at present. Also, there are several other longstanding biographies of Virgina Hall but they don't seem to be available on Audible. So maybe our US cousins have already read all about her.

Well read by Juliet Stevenson who has a beautiful voice. Unfortunately, her reading is marred by her character accents and clumsy foreign voicing of the words quoted from the many French people in the book which at times make the book sound like a bad comedy sketch, like an episode of Allo Allo. Worse still is the poor American accent she uses to speak the words of Virginia Hall herself. Pronouncing foreign words and place names correctly is important but best to leave it at that especially if your skill with accents is so wanting.

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Extraordinary story

Fascinating insight into the history and operation of SOE in France. She was clearly a remarkable woman.

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Best read ever!

Unbelievable story, inspirations beyond words. Good audio. Reads like a thriller. Highly recommend for all and essential for readers of war time heroes.

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Superb story of courage

Incredibly absorbing and brilliant book, about a heroine who displayed unbelievable courage. Beautifully narrated, too.

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Put it on the National Curriculum

A disabled woman, who created and lead the Resistance in two regions of France, showing incredible courage and planming skills.

A wonderful listen. I had to keep on reminding myself all this was true and not just a story.

Virginia Hall truely deserves The Legion of Honour award.

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Amazing

This is a brilliant story, extremely interesting and humbling. What a courageous and clever women!! A bit gruesome in parts so maybe not for bedtime 😂