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D-Day Girls

The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
Narrated by: Sarah Rose
Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.0 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The dramatic, untold story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain's elite spy agency to help pave the way for Allied victory.

In 1942, the Allies were losing, Germany seemed unstoppable, and every able man in England was fighting. Believing that Britain was locked in an existential battle, Winston Churchill had already created a secret agency, the Special Operations Executive (SOE), whose spies were trained in everything from demolition to sharpshoot­ing. Their job, he declared, was to 'set Europe ablaze'. But with most men on the front lines, the SOE was forced to do something unprecedented: recruit women. Thirty-nine answered the call, leaving their lives and families to become saboteurs in France.

In D-Day Girls, Sarah Rose draws on recently de­classified files, diaries, and oral histories to tell the thrilling story of three of these remarkable women. There's Andrée Borrel, a scrappy and streetwise Parisian who blew up power lines with the Gestapo hot on her heels; Odette Sansom, an unhappily married suburban mother who saw the SOE as her ticket out of domestic life and into a meaningful adventure; and Lise de Baissac, a fiercely independent member of French colonial high society and the SOE's unflap­pable 'queen'. Together, they destroyed train lines, ambushed Nazis, plotted prison breaks and gathered crucial intelligence - laying the groundwork for the D-Day invasion that proved to be the turning point in the war. 

Rigorously researched and written with razor-sharp wit, D-Day Girls is an inspiring story for our own moment of resistance: a reminder of what courage - and the energy of politically animated women - can accomplish when the stakes seem incalculably high.

©2019 Sarah Rose (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"The mission is this: read D-Day Girls today. Not just for the spy flair but also because this history feels more relevant than ever, as an army of women and girls again find themselves in a fight for the common good." (Lily Koppel, author of The Astronaut Wives Club)

"Thoroughly researched and written as smoothly as a good thriller, this is a mesmerizing story of creativity, perseverance, and astonishing heroism." (Publishers Weekly)

"Gripping: Spies, romance, Gestapo thugs, blown-up trains, courage, and treachery (lots of treachery) - and all of it true, all precisely documented." (Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City)

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  • SOE F Section
  • 23-02-2020

90% Fiction!

This book was very disappointing for me as the author starts off very well with very accurate information but then goes off into complete fiction, just making it up. The more the book develops the worse the fiction and padding gets. It’s such a shame as the True story of these brave Agents is far more interesting. It is an insult to their memory to turn them into Hollywood characters. Andree Borrel DId Not regain consciousness and shout Liberty as she was pushed into the furnace alive! This is Fiction! There is no evidence as to which of the 4 murdered girls regained consciousness and scratched the face of Peter Straub, the German in charge of the furnace at Natzweiler. For the True story listen to Flames in the Field by Rita Kramer, a superb book and at the opposite end of the spectrum to this appalling book. It corrupts history.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C Weston
  • 17-10-2020

Really good to hear the story of these brave women

The DDay story is well known, slowly the role of SOE and FF forces is becoming better known. The role of women has been pushed to the background, it is overdue to have their bravery and courage publicised.

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  • Ms. C. R. Thomas
  • 06-08-2019

Fascinating

Fascinating to hear about the part these strong women played in the war. Worth a listen.

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  • Jacky
  • 24-05-2019

Completely spoilt by the narration

The story is good one and the historical facts good, so why oh why did the publishers let the American author read this book. It also grated so much have an American reading about British/French operations especially with her really dire French accent, I personally found it insulting. However, if you can go beyond irritation, it is a good historical book and would be of great benefit in American history classes. It glories non of the Allies and gives a fair explanation of the time with some surmised interjections of the characters involved. The horror of some of the German practices were only glances into the reality. The depravation and near starvation that the French suffered, due to their own fault, comes to the surface. I like the fact that she told it as it was.

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  • Fiona Kimberley
  • 27-06-2019

Poor reader personally did not like the American style

Good book but narration poor in my view found the timbre of the voice irritating worked better through speakers than headphones