D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II

The dramatic, untold true story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain's elite spy agency to sabotage the Nazis and pave the way for Allied victory in World War II.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 S...

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Title:D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
Author:Sarah Rose
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Edition Language:English

D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II Reviews

  • Jennifer Ryan

    This is an incredible read. Not only are the women spies fascinating and their journeys brave and compelling, but the writer really engages the audience with background tales and details about where they were in the bigger picture of the war. Tension runs high. I found it difficult to put this one down.

    A must for history lovers, and a terrific read for fans of historical fiction.

  • Quirkyreader

    I received this as an ARC from Crown, who I say thank you to.

    This book was so well written that it seemed like a novel instead of a history of the SOE, the branch in charge of this group of agents.

    Rose focused specifically on a unlikely group of women that became secret agents for Britain during the Second World War.

    Rose gives us a taste of what the agents lives were like before they joined the SOE. And during the narrative of this book she was direct and to the point making the story more comp

    I received this as an ARC from Crown, who I say thank you to.

    This book was so well written that it seemed like a novel instead of a history of the SOE, the branch in charge of this group of agents.

    Rose focused specifically on a unlikely group of women that became secret agents for Britain during the Second World War.

    Rose gives us a taste of what the agents lives were like before they joined the SOE. And during the narrative of this book she was direct and to the point making the story more compelling.

    After reading this I found more books available about the SOE from

    .

    “D-Day Girls” has inspired me to be on the lookout for more books about women who were involved with the SOE. Thank you to Sarah Rose for writing this intriguing book.

  • Literary Soirée

    GAVE ALL

    So many risked all to ensure victory 75 years ago in Normandy. D-DAY GIRLS tells the utterly compelling tale of female agents — members of Churchill’s Secret Operations Executive — who blew up weapon supplies and power lines, derailed trains, and sabotaged the Nazis with cunning, bravery and chutzpah to advance the Allied cause.

    THEIR DUE

    Meticulously researched and lovingly written with an eye to giving these courageous women their due. And what a cover!

    Pub Date 23 Apr 2019.

    Thanks to t

    GAVE ALL

    So many risked all to ensure victory 75 years ago in Normandy. D-DAY GIRLS tells the utterly compelling tale of female agents — members of Churchill’s Secret Operations Executive — who blew up weapon supplies and power lines, derailed trains, and sabotaged the Nazis with cunning, bravery and chutzpah to advance the Allied cause.

    THEIR DUE

    Meticulously researched and lovingly written with an eye to giving these courageous women their due. And what a cover!

    Pub Date 23 Apr 2019.

    Thanks to the author, Crown Publishing, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.

    #DdayGirls #NetGalley

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    1942 was not a good year for the Allies during World War II. They were losing. There isn’t much that could be done at home in Britain because all the men are out fighting. Winston Churchill creates the Special Operations Executive (SOE), training spies in skills necessary to help win the war.

    The SOE didn’t have many men to choose from, again given that most were already battling in the war. Th

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    1942 was not a good year for the Allies during World War II. They were losing. There isn’t much that could be done at home in Britain because all the men are out fighting. Winston Churchill creates the Special Operations Executive (SOE), training spies in skills necessary to help win the war.

    The SOE didn’t have many men to choose from, again given that most were already battling in the war. Therefore, women are chosen and trained. Thirty-nine women, in fact.

    Leaving their families behind, the women travel to France. Half of them are caught, while a third are killed.

    D-Day Girls is a beautifully-rendered nonfiction work. This book tells the stories of three of these remarkable women. Odette Sansom, a young mother looking for a way out of the house and traditional roles, Andree Borrel, an organizer of the Paris resistance movement, and Lise de Baissac, a wealthy aristocrat.

    These exceptional women did the things that spies do. Blowing up weapons’ caches, shutting down trains, and collecting intelligence; all helping put things in place for the D-Day invasion, which was a day known as a huge victory and a turning point for the Allies.

    Overall, D-Day Girls was an exceptionally well-researched novel of strong women with a compelling story and an enthralling writing style. Sarah Rose builds gradual tension making this book hard to put down. I’m grateful for this effort documenting the unique contribution of these formidable women to the war.

    I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog:

  • Christine

    When I requested a review copy of this book, I thought I was going to get a historical fiction novel. It turns out this is a nonfiction book. I was a little upset with myself as I love historical fiction, but do not read many nonfiction titles. Having an intense interest in reading a book about D-Day, I decided to read it anyway.

    This book has mixed reader reviews so far. My review is mixed as well, but certainly more positive than negative. In general I really liked it, mainly because I learned

    When I requested a review copy of this book, I thought I was going to get a historical fiction novel. It turns out this is a nonfiction book. I was a little upset with myself as I love historical fiction, but do not read many nonfiction titles. Having an intense interest in reading a book about D-Day, I decided to read it anyway.

    This book has mixed reader reviews so far. My review is mixed as well, but certainly more positive than negative. In general I really liked it, mainly because I learned more from this book than the average amount I learn from at least a half dozen historical fiction novels. The narrative is centered on the French Resistance and particularly focuses on five of the thirty-nine women who made up first SOE (Special Operations Executive)-administered training class for women agents in Great Britain. Of these thirty-nine individuals, half were caught, and a third never made it home. The author has done a Tremendous (yes, with a capital T) amount of research to put his book together. I was very impressed! I also loved the fact that there was an epilogue, letting us in on what ultimately happened to the major players. I must say the courage, the heroics, and the humanity of our main characters while under constant threat from the Nazis is mind-boggling. It bothers me that I’m not sure I could be as brave as they were or willing to sacrifice like they did.

    My main criticism is that this was a long read for me. Not because the book is long, because it’s not—particularly since the last 30% is made up by footnotes. It was long to me because there is no dialogue and it is almost strictly “tell, not show.” There are also so many facts and words that I wanted to absorb and expand by googling details and definitions, which always slows things down (but, I admit, in a good way). It is therefore what I would call a concentrated read, not something to whiz through quickly. I also missed not really being able to get into the heads of the main characters as is so often the case in nonfiction reads—that blunts some of the emotional aspects that I like in a book.

    Overall, I did enjoy this book and recommend it for a well researched overview of some of the ins and outs of D-Day and an excellent depiction of the lives of some of the incredible women who helped France regain it’s freedom. It also opened me up to the possibility of reading more nonfiction. I will just have to go in with the mindset that it will not likely be a speedy read, at least for me.

    Thank you Net Galley, Crown Publishing, and author Sarah Rose for an advanced copy. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

  • Katie B

    What peaked my interest when I first heard about this book was that it featured women who risked their lives to help win World War 2. I love reading these type of non-fiction books because it feels like for far too long the role women played in the war was largely ignored. It's nice that as more and more these books are published, these heroic women are finally getting some recognition.

    Even though I have read quite a few non-fiction books featuring women during the war, almost all of the ones I

    What peaked my interest when I first heard about this book was that it featured women who risked their lives to help win World War 2. I love reading these type of non-fiction books because it feels like for far too long the role women played in the war was largely ignored. It's nice that as more and more these books are published, these heroic women are finally getting some recognition.

    Even though I have read quite a few non-fiction books featuring women during the war, almost all of the ones I have read have been about American women. So it was good change of pace for me to see just how tough and strong European women were during this period of history. The book mainly follows three women who were recruited as spies which at the time was pretty much unprecedented. Let's face it, most people back then thought the ways women could contribute to the war effort was by knitting scarves or tending to wounded soldiers. Women willing to risk their lives to help win the war was a hard concept for many people to grasp.

    This book provided a good starting off point for learning about these courageous females although I wouldn't say it was my favorite WW2 read. It is a decent read though so if the topic interests you, I recommend giving this one a look.

    Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

  • Erin

    The women's fiction market has been filled since January with the stories of female protagonists who participated in special operations during WWII. In fact many of my ARCs have been on this specific topic.

    So this April non fiction release provides readers with the background history they need to answer those burning questions. A lot of research has been put into the novel and author, Sarah Rose do

    The women's fiction market has been filled since January with the stories of female protagonists who participated in special operations during WWII. In fact many of my ARCs have been on this specific topic.

    So this April non fiction release provides readers with the background history they need to answer those burning questions. A lot of research has been put into the novel and author, Sarah Rose does her utmost to paint the picture of the political, economical, amd cultural atmosphere during the WWII era. She gives us the story of three specific women and discusses their journey as part of the SOE. These women went through hell and it was obvious through the book how strongly Sarah Rose felt towards their stories being passed on to a wider audience.

    However, I had a really hard time getting through the book because a lot of the information wasn't exactly new for me. That is in part because I have read A LOT of history during this time period. But no doubt readers that are looking to jump into this time period will be fascinated.

  • Toni Osborne

    The spies who armed the resistance, sabotaged the Nazis, and helped win World War 11

    This is a dramatic true account of extraordinary women recruited by Britain who helped win the day on June 6, 1944 and pave the way for Allied victory.

    Drawn from declassified files, diaries and oral histories, as per her notes, Ms. Rose did intensive research and has written a story of five remarkable women. These courageous women are Andrée Borrel, Odette Sansom, Lise de Baissan, Yvonne Rudellat and Mary Herber

    The spies who armed the resistance, sabotaged the Nazis, and helped win World War 11

    This is a dramatic true account of extraordinary women recruited by Britain who helped win the day on June 6, 1944 and pave the way for Allied victory.

    Drawn from declassified files, diaries and oral histories, as per her notes, Ms. Rose did intensive research and has written a story of five remarkable women. These courageous women are Andrée Borrel, Odette Sansom, Lise de Baissan, Yvonne Rudellat and Mary Herbert. It is also the story of fearless men who worked by their side: Francis Suttill, Gilbert Norman, Peter Churchill and Claude de Baissic. Together, they destroyed train lines, ambushed Nazis, plotted prison breaks, and gathered crucial intelligence. Some never made it home.….

    France and Environs 1940-1944.

    Interesting:

    A most heavy read, this account is a fascinating and important story not only of the women who worked as spies but also of the members of the resistance in France and the SOE (Secret Operations Executive) Office whose agents played key roles in the D-Day invasion. Sara Rose takes us on the dangerous journey they had to face in enemy territory.

    Not so much:

    It is a hard book to get into, the narrative lacks some cohesion and something is lost in the way it is told. The story jumps from event to event, from person and person sometimes using their code names other times their real names all this with little warning. I found this distracting and mostly confusing. It also reads like it was thrown together, much unorganized, more like a history professor’s lecture notes, a person that wants to say a lot but doesn’t have time to do so. Staying focus was a challenge and I wanted to abandon this book many times but I persevered wanted to know who would make it home….

    In Conclusion:

    Writing a non-fiction is a daunting task. Ms. Rose has nevertheless provided us with an overall picture of the war and has supplemented her words with a lively bibliography at the end. This book is an addition to the WW11 histories and not meant to be an easy and quick read.

    I stay on the fence on this one.

    I received this ARC from Crown Publishing via NetGalleys for my thoughts

  • Kendra

    This book will sell well to general readers. It shouldn't. It's disorganized and messy, and both condescends to its readers and lacks essential information on its topic. Author Sarah Rose makes sweeping generalizations about France and its citizens during WWII; misstates historical facts; engages in inaccurate and sometimes offensive hyperbole; and has apparently done little research into the role of women in war, women in WWI, or the history of war in general. She refers to figures in the book

    This book will sell well to general readers. It shouldn't. It's disorganized and messy, and both condescends to its readers and lacks essential information on its topic. Author Sarah Rose makes sweeping generalizations about France and its citizens during WWII; misstates historical facts; engages in inaccurate and sometimes offensive hyperbole; and has apparently done little research into the role of women in war, women in WWI, or the history of war in general. She refers to figures in the book by their first names, which diminishes them in contrast with the leaders: she gives Hitler his self-appointed titles, though. She characterizes figures in the book with no documentation to do so: is this person really "sniveling," was this one "no longer fecund" and why do those things matter? She uses outdated and unacceptable ethnic terms--"gypsy" comes to mind--and uses other inappropriate or incorrect words that an editor should have caught ("snarked," "fulsome," others). I'd like to read a good book on the work of women--who, no matter how young, were not "girls"--in the French Resistance in France during the war, but this definitely isn't it.

  • Maine Colonial

    I received a free review copy from the publisher.

    In his The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945, the always-opinionated historian Max Hastings argues that field intelligence agents in WW2 contributed only marginally to the Allied victory. Regarding the Special Operations Executive, Churchill’s creation, he remarks: “Most accounts of wartime SOE agents, particularly women and especially in France, contain large doses of romantic twaddle.”

    Hastings’s comment struck a nerve with Sarah

    I received a free review copy from the publisher.

    In his The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945, the always-opinionated historian Max Hastings argues that field intelligence agents in WW2 contributed only marginally to the Allied victory. Regarding the Special Operations Executive, Churchill’s creation, he remarks: “Most accounts of wartime SOE agents, particularly women and especially in France, contain large doses of romantic twaddle.”

    Hastings’s comment struck a nerve with Sarah Rose and she objects as a woman and a journalist. In her Author Note, she says that “twaddle matters” and is the stuff of human experience. As a woman (not a journalist), I think Rose gets it all wrong for a number of reasons. She seems to take Hastings’s remark as disrespectful to the women SOE agents, which is not at all what it was intended to convey. She is also in denial that there are many books and films about WW2 agents in France that

    romanticized. I also think that Rose is so defensive about Hastings’s assertion because she has written a work of “romantic twaddle” herself.

    the story of the SOE agents in France captures the imagination.

    we should be impressed by the bravery of the women who volunteered to go behind enemy lines, knowing they risked capture, torture and death. But Rose’s book is written superficially and with much emphasis on the personal, especially the agents’ romantic attachments.

    Rose’s narrative is all over the place. It’s never clear what her organizing principle is, if there is one. She jumps from place to place and agent to agent, not giving a full picture of anybody and leaving us wondering why she included some agents and left out others. She repeats points and she puts thoughts in these women’s heads that she often doesn’t source in her notes.

    Although Rose’s writing is easy to read, there are several occasions when she misuses words (e.g., anodyne and fulsome), and constructs puzzlingly self-contradictory sentences, such as when she is trying to describe the German soldiers occupying Paris as being so much better clothed and fed than the natives, but in the same sentence she also describes the soldiers as being hollow-eyed. Huh?

    Considering that this is a book that doesn’t seem to know what it’s about, I suppose it’s not surprising that the title and cover belie the book’s contents. The cover shows a beret-wearing woman bicycling through a deserted bombed-out city, as fighter planes fill the sky. When I first saw the graphic-novel look of the cover, it made me wonder if this is supposed to be a young adult book, but it isn’t. On top of that, the depiction makes no sense at all. These SOE agents did bicycle, but it was to create an impression they were just locals going about their daily errands. The woman on the cover has a freaking rifle slung over her shoulders. Out in the open. In the daytime. Argh!

    I don’t want to pile on, but I also object to the book’s title. Why, oh why, does Ms. Rose have to call them “D-Day Girls”? These were women, not girls. Ms. Rose wants to give them their due, so why would she allow them to be trivialized in the title and the comic-book looking cover? She notes in the book that they referred to themselves as girls, but that was then and this is now. Also, referring to them in the context of D-Day implies that they did nothing until late in the war, when they were working in the field years earlier and most of the book describes events unrelated to D-Day.

    Maybe Ms. Rose had no control over the title or the cover art—I sure hope not—but a book with that title and that cover sure looks like the dreaded “romantic twaddle.”

    There are so many better books out there about the SOE and its agents.

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