Leo Sigh

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D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose to be published on April 23rd — female spies sabotaging the Nazis

I would pick up D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose for the cool cover alone. I would read it for the story.

That is because D-Day Girls is the until now not known story of the women who were recruited by a newly formed British spy agency – the Special Operations Executive (SOE) — to go undercover in occupied Europe, sabotage the Nazis and help pave the way for an Allied invasion and victory during World War II. Women who were part of what became known as ‘Churchill’s Secret Army’.

As the publisher’s blurb says about D-Day Girls:

“In 1942, the Allies were losing, Germany seemed unstoppable, and every able man in England was fighting. Churchill believed Britain was locked in an existential battle and created a secret agency, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), whose spies were trained in everything from demolition to sharp-shooting. Their job, he declared, was “to set Europe ablaze!”

But with most men on the frontlines, the SOE did something unprecedented: it recruited women. Thirty-nine women answered the call, leaving their lives and families to become saboteurs in France. Half were caught, and a third did not make it home alive. 

n D-Day Girls, Sarah Rose draws on recently declassified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell the story of three of these women. There’s Odette Sansom, a young mother who feels suffocated by domestic life and sees the war as her ticket out; Lise de Baissac, an unflappable aristocrat with the mind of a natural leader; and Andrée Borrel, the streetwise organizer of the Paris Resistance. Together, they derailed trains, blew up weapons caches, destroyed power and phone lines, and gathered crucial intelligence—laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war.”

Sarah Rose was a columnist at the Wall Street Journal. She has written for The New York Post, Bon Appetit, Travel + Leisure, Men’s Journal, and is also the author of the book For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History.

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II will be published on April 23rd by Crown Publishing.

Related Reading: Kate Atkinson’s ‘Big Sky‘ to be published on June 18th, 2019