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A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

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9780735225299: A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

“Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down.” -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

The perfect holiday gift for the World War II history buff, a never-before-told story of Virginia Hall, the American spy who changed the course of World War II, from the author of Clementine


In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her."

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill's "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and--despite her prosthetic leg--helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.

Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.

Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall--an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman's fierce persistence helped win the war.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of April 2019: In this fast-paced biography Sonia Purnell tells the story of Virginia Hall, an American spy who worked undercover in France during World War II for Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE). Hall’s story is a surprising one: she began her life in the United States with a mother who wished for the perfect debutante. Hall, however, was more comfortable studying languages, and found herself living abroad and working for the State Department when she lost half her leg in a hunting accident. This setback didn’t slow down Hall at all: she named her wooden prosthetic Cuthbert, drove ambulances in France, and was recruited by a recently formed SOE as a spy in occupied France. Hall posed as a newspaper reporter, enlisting civilians for the French Resistance and establishing an underground network of allies and becoming one of the most important spies during World War II. Purnell does an amazing job bringing Hall’s exploits to life and has crafted a gripping and cinematic biography for an unsung hero of wartime espionage. --Alison Walker

About the Author:

Sonia Purnell is a biographer and journalist who has worked at The Economist, The Telegraph, and The Sunday Times. Her book Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill (published as First Lady in the UK) was chosen as a book of the year by The Telegraph and The Independent, and was a finalist for the Plutarch Award. Her first book, Just Boris, was longlisted for the Orwell prize.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780735225312: A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

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ISBN 10: 0735225311 ISBN 13: 9780735225312
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2020
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9780349010168: A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of WWII’s Most Dangerous Spy, Virginia Hall

Virago, 2020
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9780349010182: Woman Of No Importance

Viking, 2019
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9780349010175: A Woman of No Importance

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