The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy

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9781592287628: The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy
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Virginia Hall left comfortable Baltimore roots of wealth and privilege in 1931 to follow her dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer, a job that would change her life forever. She watched as Hitler rolled into Poland, then France, and she decided to work for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). There she learned things her wealthy Baltimore contemporaries would never have imagined--demolitions, assassination, secret radio communications, and resistance organization. She was deployed to France where the Gestapo imprisoned, beat, and tortured spies. Some were mercifully executed while others faced slow, painful deaths.

Against such an ominous backdrop, Hall managed to locate drop zones for the money and weapons so badly needed by the French Resistance, helped escaped POWs and downed Allied airmen flee to England, and secured safe houses for agents in need. Soon, wanted posters appeared throughout France offering a reward for the capture of "The most dangerous of all Allied spies . . . we must find and destroy her." By winter of 1942 Hall had no choice but to flee France via the only route possible: a hike on foot through the frozen Pyr?9n?9s Mountains into neutral Spain. The escape was arduous, and Hall''s artificial leg (nicknamed "Cuthbert") became very painful. In a radio message to London during the journey, she mentioned that Cuthbert was giving her trouble. Forgetting her leg''s nickname, London replied, "If Cuthbert is giving you trouble, have him eliminated."

Upon her return to England, the OSS recruited her and sent her back to France in the spring of 1944 disguised as an old peasant woman. While there, she was responsible for killing 150 German soldiers and capturing 500 others, sabotaging communications and transportation links, and directing resistance activities. But the Gestapo had become wise to her ways, and inexorably tightened the noose around her day by day.

This is the true story of Virginia Hall, a remarkable woman who has been ignored by the history books for over fifty years.

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From the Back Cover:

Virginia Hall left her comfortable Baltimore roots of privilege in 1931 to follow a dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer. After watching Hitler roll into Poland, then France, she decided to work for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), a secret espionage and sabotage organization. There she learned techniques her wealthy Baltimore contemporaries would never have imagined demolitions, assassination, secret radio communications, and resistance organization. She was deployed to France where the Gestapo imprisoned, beat, and tortured spies.
Against such an ominous backdrop, Hall managed to locate drop zones for the money and weapons so badly needed by the French Resistance, helped escaped POWs and downed Allied airmen flee to England, and secured safe houses for agents in need. Soon, wanted posters appeared throughout France offering a reward for the capture of the most dangerous of all Allied spies . . . We must find and destroy her.” By winter of 1942 Hall had no choice but to flee France via the only route possible: a hike on foot through the frozen Pyrénées Mountains into neutral Spain. The escape was arduous, and Hall’s artificial leg (nicknamed Cuthbert”) became very painful. In a radio message to London during the journey, she mentioned that Cuthbert was giving her trouble. Forgetting her leg’s nickname, London replied, If Cuthbert is giving you trouble, have him eliminated.”
Upon Hall’s return to England, the OSS recruited her and sent her back to France disguised as an old peasant woman. While there, she was responsible for killing 150 German soldiers and capturing 500 others, sabotaging communications and transportation links, and directing resistance activities. But the Gestapo had become wise to her ways, and inexorably tightened the noose around her day by day.
This is the true story of Virginia Hall, a remarkable woman ignored by history books for over fifty years.

About the Author:

Judith L. Pearson is the author of Belly of the Beast: A POW's Inspiring True Story of Faith, Courage, and Survival aboard the Infamous WWII Japanese Hell Ship Oryoku Maru. She lives with her husband and sons in Tempe, Arizona.

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