The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal

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9780062307675: The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Dark Invasion, channels Erik Larson and Ben Macintyre in this riveting biography of Betty Pack, the dazzling American debutante who became an Allied spy during WWII and was hailed by OSS chief General “Wild Bill" Donovan as “the greatest unsung heroine of the war.”

Betty Pack was charming, beautiful, and intelligent—and she knew it. As an agent for Britain’s MI-6 and then America’s OSS during World War II, these qualities proved crucial to her success. This is the remarkable story of this “Mata Hari from Minnesota” (Time) and the passions that ruled her tempestuous life—a life filled with dangerous liaisons and death-defying missions vital to the Allied victory.

For decades, much of Betty’s career working for MI-6 and the OSS remained classified. Through access to recently unclassified files, Howard Blum discovers the truth about the attractive blond, codenamed “Cynthia,” who seduced diplomats and military attachés across the globe in exchange for ciphers and secrets; cracked embassy safes to steal codes; and obtained the Polish notebooks that proved key to Alan Turing’s success with Operation Ultra.

Beneath Betty’s cool, professional determination, Blum reveals a troubled woman conflicted by the very traits that made her successful: her lack of deep emotional connections and her readiness to risk everything. The Last Goodnight is a mesmerizing, provocative, and moving portrait of an exceptional heroine whose undaunted courage helped to save the world.

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In The Last Goodnight, the New York Times bestselling author Howard Blum reveals the riveting story of Betty Pack, a dazzling American debutante who became one of World War II’s most successful Allied spies.

Time magazine called her “the Mata Hari of Minnesota”; OSS chief general “Wild Bill” Donovan called her “the greatest unsung heroine of the war.” But for decades, the extent of Betty Pack’s achievements as an agent during World War II, first for Britain’s MI6 and then for America’s OSS, remained classified. Now, in The Last Goodnight, the truth about this femme fatale—her dangerous liaisons and death-defying missions, the heartaches that haunted her life, her vital contributions to the Allied victory—forms a narrative more thrilling than fiction.

Betty Pack was charming, beautiful, and extremely intelligent: these qualities would prove crucial to her success as a spy. It was a vocation she fell into almost by accident, but she turned out to be a consummate professional. Using the code name “Cynthia,” she seduced diplomats and military attachés across the globe in exchange for crucial secrets, but her missions went far beyond the bedroom. She repeatedly risked her life to secure coveted documents, such as the Polish codebooks that proved key to Alan Turing’s success with Operation Ultra.

Blum masterfully spins Betty’s triumphs, the trail of broken hearts she left in her wake, and her brushes with death into a suspenseful saga of wartime espionage. The Last Goodnight is a moving, cinematic biography, distinguished by its nuanced insight, of one of World War II’s lost women—a heroine who deserves to be remembered, not only for what she did, but also for all that she sacrificed.

About the Author:

Howard Blum is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner American Lightning, as well as Wanted!, The Gold of Exodus, Gangland, and The Floor of Heaven. Blum is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While at the New York Times, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He is the father of three children, and lives in Connecticut.

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