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

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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 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 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. In 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. Stylishly written and rigorously researched, this is an inspiring story for our own moment of resistance, in which women continue to play a vital role.


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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 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 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. In 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. Stylishly written and rigorously researched, this is an inspiring story for our own moment of resistance, in which women continue to play a vital role.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    A fascinating and compelling story about the women spies who influenced the outcome of D-Day. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 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 A fascinating and compelling story about the women spies who influenced the outcome of D-Day. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 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: www.jennifertarheeelreader..com

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review 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 d Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    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

  5. 4 out of 5

    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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    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 https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk. “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.

  9. 4 out of 5

    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 are romanticized. I also think that Rose is so defensive about Hastings’s assertion because she has written a work of “romantic twaddle” herself. Of course the story of the SOE agents in France captures the imagination. Of course 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    Fairly interesting historical account of the Allies female spies working undercover in Nazi-occupied France. I liked the discussions of their clever methods, and the different colorful personalities involved. I found again how the spy game is dangerous and deadly. Of course many of the women spies/saboteurs were never recognized for their heroic efforts. I also learned about what Vichy France was during the war. All in all, the book held my attention on an important topic.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erika Robuck

    D-Day Girls is impossible to put down. It tells the remarkable stories of a group of phenomenal, courageous women in WWII. Highly recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    I am trying really hard to read more non-fiction as this is probably my least favorite genre. This new release caught my eye, and I found it read like a novel. Focusing on the country of France after it had been invaded by Hitler and divided into two parts: occupied and Vichy (ruled by Charles de Gaulle until the Nazis took it over in Nov 1942). Britain knows that overtaking the Nazis in France is key to winning the war. Every available man has been drafted into the army, but the British forces I am trying really hard to read more non-fiction as this is probably my least favorite genre. This new release caught my eye, and I found it read like a novel. Focusing on the country of France after it had been invaded by Hitler and divided into two parts: occupied and Vichy (ruled by Charles de Gaulle until the Nazis took it over in Nov 1942). Britain knows that overtaking the Nazis in France is key to winning the war. Every available man has been drafted into the army, but the British forces know they need to develop a resistance force among the French who are anti-Nazi. So they begin to look at the possibility of parachuting trained female spies behind the lines to work to form resistance groups and develop those already in place. The first three who complete their training and are dropped into France are: Andrée Borrel a scrappy and streetwise Parisian who has escaped to England, Odette Samson, an unhappily married suburban mother who saw the Special Operations Executive Branch (SOE) as her ticket out of domestic life and into adventure, and Lise de Baissac, a fiercely independent member of French colonial high society and the SOE's unflappable queen. This book follows these three women, the French resistance members they recruit, and the British military personnel as well as SOE male recruits from their drop into France in 1942 until the D-Day Invasion and its aftermath. Well written, excellently researched, this was a non-fiction read that definitely brought this time period in France to life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    3.49 stars There was a lot of interesting information in this book, but it was so poorly organized that it was hard to keep track of all the different people and their stories. Still worth a read or a listen as a starting point on the subject.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

    War is a story of men. Because men tell the stories of war. Women in war torn countries are wallpaper, scenery. They embellish the story, they are victims, objects of pity, sometimes brave supporters of their soldiers as wives, nurses, etc. They don't fight the war. But, if your country were invaded and you were a girl or a woman, would you just roll over and play the victim? Or would you be part of the resistance? "D-Day Girls" tells the true story of just one of the efforts utilizing brave, War is a story of men. Because men tell the stories of war. Women in war torn countries are wallpaper, scenery. They embellish the story, they are victims, objects of pity, sometimes brave supporters of their soldiers as wives, nurses, etc. They don't fight the war. But, if your country were invaded and you were a girl or a woman, would you just roll over and play the victim? Or would you be part of the resistance? "D-Day Girls" tells the true story of just one of the efforts utilizing brave, talented women to prepare France to be ready to help the allies repel the Germans in WWII. These women were trained in Great Britain, either because they were French or had some attachment to France, parachuted into the French countryside, carried messages and supplies, engaged in sabotage, spied, and fought. Some of them gave their lives for the effort. Sarah Rose's story has made me look at the women in my own little world and wonder which of them would possess the amazing traits that these heroines did. I think some of them would surprise me. Thanks to Crown Publishing and Goodreads for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    I had high hopes for this book as I had not read much about the subject before, but it was an utter disappointment. It reads like it was thrown together as many facts are inaccurate and others "facts" are strictly opinion. The book itself is very unorganized.  I cannot honestly recommend this book to anyone. I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my fiction book review I had high hopes for this book as I had not read much about the subject before, but it was an utter disappointment. It reads like it was thrown together as many facts are inaccurate and others "facts" are strictly opinion. The book itself is very unorganized.  I cannot honestly recommend this book to anyone. I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook and Twitter pages.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mellie Antoinette

    I’m personally not a fan of filler in non-fiction. The linchpin of good NF is well-researched, well-written, well-told stories. For me, this missed on all fronts which is a shame because it had such a strong opening!

  17. 4 out of 5

    L.

    Normally I wouldn't bother to review a book like this, but since I was gifted a copy a few months before release I figured I should do one anyway so that people can decide whether or not to purchase it. This is not a life-changing book. There is nothing in here that is ground-shattering or will significantly add to the mountains of things we know about World War II. In fact, most of the facts presented by this book have done better elsewhere. Instead, we get to listen to the opinions of Sarah Ros Normally I wouldn't bother to review a book like this, but since I was gifted a copy a few months before release I figured I should do one anyway so that people can decide whether or not to purchase it. This is not a life-changing book. There is nothing in here that is ground-shattering or will significantly add to the mountains of things we know about World War II. In fact, most of the facts presented by this book have done better elsewhere. Instead, we get to listen to the opinions of Sarah Rose, who really hates France and anything French people do, but it fine with it when British people do the same things. For a history book, this one is "okay." Unfortunately, the author often mixes up fact, speculation, and opinion, without really separating the three. She narrates the story and tells what the characters are thinking and feeling as if they absolutely thought and felt those things, despite there being no evidence for it. She takes the lives of real men and woman and dramatizes them to the point where they cease to have been real, but are now fictional heroes and heroines. And if you don't really care about historical fact and prefer entertainment, this will probably be a great read for you. But I wonder how the actual women who existed would feel seeing their stories presented in this way. I wonder if Sarah Rose cares. Even the name of this book says, "I'm writing this book to take advantage of a trend." Ever since Radium Girls was released we've been given a huge slog of "_______ Girls" books. Not women, girls, because it makes sense to infantilize them in a book that claims to be advocating for them. The title of the book really makes no sense, because almost nothing the "girls" in the book do has anything to do with D-Day. But us ignorant, stupid Americans only care about D-Day and only care about girls, so that's what it's named. The title absolutely oversells the actions of this women and makes their efforts to be something that it isn't, all in the name of selling the book, making money, and gaining fame off the backs of women like me who really DO want to read about women in history who did great things. People are going to want to praise this book because the idea behind it is noble and good. But to me, it isn't enough just to write history books that feature women. I want these books to be well-researched, historically accurate, and unembellished. I believe that female readers of history books deserve to be treated like male ones, and not condescended to or told that, "You're a woman so I wrote this book so an idiot like you will be entertained by it!" There are plenty of authors out there that can do this, but not this one. Anyone can write a history book and shove their opinion on it. I have higher standards, and any lover of history books should too. I rated this book as a 2 because "It's ok" is really the most generous reaction I can give it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    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

  19. 5 out of 5

    ClaraBelle

    This book…whoa, how utterly inspiring and sobering it was! These 5 remarkable, ordinary but extraordinary women: Odette Samson, Mary Herbert, Yvonne Rabullat, Andree Borreal, Lise de Baissac changed the course of French resistance and WW2 history and helped pave the way towards victory at D Day and yet they’re hardly known at all. Warning : disturbing but not too gratuitous descriptions of executions and tortures. However, one instance of the s-word, an improper slur to male genitalia, and one u This book…whoa, how utterly inspiring and sobering it was! These 5 remarkable, ordinary but extraordinary women: Odette Samson, Mary Herbert, Yvonne Rabullat, Andree Borreal, Lise de Baissac changed the course of French resistance and WW2 history and helped pave the way towards victory at D Day and yet they’re hardly known at all. Warning : disturbing but not too gratuitous descriptions of executions and tortures. However, one instance of the s-word, an improper slur to male genitalia, and one usuage of Gods name in vain. Also, 3 of the women(Odette, Mary, Yvonne)become romanced with their male commanding officer, and only Yvonne marries hers. Odette has a affair but later marries him after their respective divorces from previous spouses. Mary has a baby with hers but they marry to legitimize the child; however, they never live as a married couple after the legitimization period. I know we are all human and make mistakes but just a warning that they’re not crystal clear, squeaky clean heroines. Yet, these 5 profess to be Christian but horrible marriages and war experiences shake their belief in God. Recommend: for mature readers ages 18+ Spoiler: be prepared for a sad ending Rating: 4.5 out of 10 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an review. D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose is a fantastic work of nonfiction about the British female spies who sabotaged the Nazis during WWII including Odette Sansom, Lise de Baissac, and Andrée Borrel. These women risked their lives to assure an Allied victory in Europe. They did everything from derail trains, blow up weapons caches, destroy power and phone lines, as well as gather crucial intelligence for the British. Their stories are absolutely fas I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an review. D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose is a fantastic work of nonfiction about the British female spies who sabotaged the Nazis during WWII including Odette Sansom, Lise de Baissac, and Andrée Borrel. These women risked their lives to assure an Allied victory in Europe. They did everything from derail trains, blow up weapons caches, destroy power and phone lines, as well as gather crucial intelligence for the British. Their stories are absolutely fascinating and truly engaging. I appreciated the level of detail that has gone into this history book and just how skillfully it has been written and researched. If you enjoyed Duel of Wits by Peter Churchill (a memoir from Odette Sanson's secret agent husband), Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, White Rose by Kip Wilson, or are interested in historical fiction, and spy novels, I expect you'll be hooked on D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    The following is based on review of an Advance Readers Copy: I stopped reading this book about 100 pages in. I wanted to like it--I really did! However, the author chose to rehash certain points ad nauseam. I understand that male military attitudes toward women tend to be chauvinistic but Grove brought up the same points of it so often that it interrupted the interesting parts about what the women were achieving.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim Stennett

    Entertaining and educational. Reads like a spy novel and sheds light on an important but little known aspect of WWII. Warning. There are a handful of brutal tortures, but it is definitely worth reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    3.75* This is a good and engaging audiobook to listen to. It's the story of a group of women who are either French or of French origin, working with the British Special Operations during World War II. They willingly go behind enemy lines to help the French Resistance. In some instances, they help recruit and train the Resistance. They conduct sabotage operations of rail lines and electrical grid. Unfortunately, several of these brave women were captured, tortured, and killed by the Nazis. When w 3.75* This is a good and engaging audiobook to listen to. It's the story of a group of women who are either French or of French origin, working with the British Special Operations during World War II. They willingly go behind enemy lines to help the French Resistance. In some instances, they help recruit and train the Resistance. They conduct sabotage operations of rail lines and electrical grid. Unfortunately, several of these brave women were captured, tortured, and killed by the Nazis. When we are taught about history, women are shown being in the home front. But these D-Day girls are at the forefront of the war. They did not have to go undercover to France. It would've been safer (relatively) to stay in England, but their sense of duty compelled them to go. But after the war, because of their gender, they were not classified as military contributors. Several of them were awarded the George Cross which is the highest civilian honour the UK gives. I finish this book reflecting on courage and valour. More people should learn of the heroism of these group of women. This book is a good start to it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    I loved this! Usually when it comes to WW2, we hear about the scientists, the atomic bombs, the Holocaust, and Anne Frank. Of course, these are all learned about for very good reasons. We never really hear much about women in WW2, except for women taking over many manual labor jobs back at home, giving a charge to those far away. I loved this being non-fiction. It was nice to be able to read stories about some women who were able to have some kind of impact during those years. Whether it was dia I loved this! Usually when it comes to WW2, we hear about the scientists, the atomic bombs, the Holocaust, and Anne Frank. Of course, these are all learned about for very good reasons. We never really hear much about women in WW2, except for women taking over many manual labor jobs back at home, giving a charge to those far away. I loved this being non-fiction. It was nice to be able to read stories about some women who were able to have some kind of impact during those years. Whether it was diaries, oral stories, or old medical documents, I felt interested in the stories of these women, and it never once felt boring. This is a WW2 book that I think people should check out sometime, as it does give a new perspective in what can go on behind the scenes at home. ARC received by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    First off, I do want to comment by saying that while, I do agree with some readers that this book was a bit scattered; it did not distract or turn me off from my reading experience of this book. Yes, it felt like the author, Ms. Rose was so excited that she was just penning down all of the facts and her research to paper. However, it is because of this "excitement" that helped me with my reading experience. It is easy to forget that past history not only touched men but women as well. Women were First off, I do want to comment by saying that while, I do agree with some readers that this book was a bit scattered; it did not distract or turn me off from my reading experience of this book. Yes, it felt like the author, Ms. Rose was so excited that she was just penning down all of the facts and her research to paper. However, it is because of this "excitement" that helped me with my reading experience. It is easy to forget that past history not only touched men but women as well. Women were very beneficial to wars as well. It is just that they did not get the huge recognition like men did. That is changing even in todays world but not fully embraced yet. I know years ago when I was considering joining the military, the idea of women on the front line was not as favored. Back to this book. I liked all of the women. Each one had a different reason for joining this cause. I was impressed by their courage and bravery. Fans of history books or just looking for a new book to read should pick up a copy of this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    really solid on ~personal lives~ of the SOE gals, also had the best layout of the Paris network that I've read so far (not enough Noor Inayat Khan but w/e)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bev Walkling

    Many thanks to Crown Publishing and #Netgalley for allowing me to read an uncorrected proof of this book in exchange for an honest review. First off I was drawn to this book because of the beautiful artwork on the cover which immediately suggested to me the era in which the book was set. The title set up certain expectations for me and I am not sure they were fully met within the pages of the book. To be fair, I was reading an uncorrected proof and it is possible that the finished book will inclu Many thanks to Crown Publishing and #Netgalley for allowing me to read an uncorrected proof of this book in exchange for an honest review. First off I was drawn to this book because of the beautiful artwork on the cover which immediately suggested to me the era in which the book was set. The title set up certain expectations for me and I am not sure they were fully met within the pages of the book. To be fair, I was reading an uncorrected proof and it is possible that the finished book will include things that I did not see. I did not see any maps or any pictures of the women that were focused on. In a broader sense, the author was writing not just about the women who worked as spies but about the S.O.E. from it's very early days until the time of the D-Day landings and a little beyond. With a different title I might have been more prepared for what I was reading. I grew up reading books that my father had collected during the war and the ones that fascinated me the most were the ones either about P.O.W.s who tried to escape and women who worked in the resistance. Included among them were the book Odette about Odette Sansom, Born for Sacrifice about Noor Inayat Khan (known as Madeleine), Carve Her Name With Pride about Violet Szabo and Moondrop to Gascony written by Anne-Marie Walters about her experiences, among others. All of these were published in the 1950's while much information was still classified and could not be put into writing. They were exciting books to me as a young reader and I felt that I came to really understand what these women were experiencing. The author here chose to focus on the stories of three particular women, Odette Sansom, Lise de Baissac and Andree Borrel, and using recently declassified files, diaries and oral histories tell their stories and give the reader insight into what makes a woman stand up and resist against what she believes is wrong. Her intent was to write a book that would bring these women to life for general readers. I think perhaps with the amount of reading I have done in this area that perhaps I don't fit into that category. The author began with Odette heading off to an interview at the War Office without really understanding what she was going there for. As a young mother, she thought it might have been something to do with photographs that she had shared. The general public had been asked to send photographs that showed the French coastline in any way that might ultimately be helpful at the time of an invasion. She was a mother of three young women and certainly was not expecting to be asked to go and serve in France. The chapter was quite detailed and interesting and was a good starting place for me. The subsequent chapter moved on to really start at the beginning of the war and the development of the "Firm" as the S.O.E. or Special Operations Executive was sometimes called. The author laid out in a logical way how the war had progressed thus far and what the military strategy was likely to be going forward. Throughout the book there were many spots where Rose moved away from the story of the women to things in perspective from the view of the "Firm" and the powers that be back in England. While these are important to help the general reader understand how things happen, as I reader I found it frustrating. Different chapters moved back and forth between the different women, often with very little to inform me of that until I was well into a paragraph. Personally I think I would have like to have read about each one in totality. As I was reading the book I didn't notice any footnotes interspersed throughout the chapters. One of the difficulties of reading books on the kindle app but not on the kindle is that you can't easily flip back and forth through the book without losing your place. The table of contents did make mention of notes that would be at the end, but I missed that on my first excitement to get reading and didn't look to the end until I got there. Having said that, the author clearly did an incredible amount of research and much of it was fascinating. The notes run from page 291 to page 351 and a Bibliography follows that is over twenty pages long. If you read the book you really should read through the notes as they included some quite detailed information that did not make it into the body of the book. I feel this book does give a good overview of the development of the S.O.E and how both the male and female operatives worked in France during the war. I didn't come away feeling like I had really gotten into the heads of the women. At times I felt like I was reading a history book, at other times like I was reading fiction. I think this book would be most of interest to the reader who has not done a lot of background reading about the war and the roles that the women played in setting the stage for the ultimate invasion and victory. Is it still relevant today? Yes - it is as women still face up to what they see as injustice and learn to speak out and resist.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    Audiobook. Really good. Brief summary of the history of several British women of French heritage who worked as spies in occupied France and were instrumental in D-Day. Starts with a biography of each of the women and then after all women's biographies there is the history of the resistance in France which includes the parts each woman played. Very interesting, however I think that reading the book as opposed to listening to would make this book much more enjoyable. In an actual book, each name w Audiobook. Really good. Brief summary of the history of several British women of French heritage who worked as spies in occupied France and were instrumental in D-Day. Starts with a biography of each of the women and then after all women's biographies there is the history of the resistance in France which includes the parts each woman played. Very interesting, however I think that reading the book as opposed to listening to would make this book much more enjoyable. In an actual book, each name will become more concrete and you have the ability to flip back to the biography of the woman to help remember which person was which. This book was very interesting and I am glad that I listened to it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Peppy

    Bravo to Sarah Rose for bringing to the foreground a factual historical account of the WW ll contributions of three talented and brave women agents of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) who served in occupied France: Andrée Borrel, Odette Sansom and Lise de Baissac. This book has all the elements of a great thriller and the best part is that it is all true not historical fiction. The courageous clandestine acts of these women have been predominantly unrecognized both during and after Bravo to Sarah Rose for bringing to the foreground a factual historical account of the WW ll contributions of three talented and brave women agents of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) who served in occupied France: Andrée Borrel, Odette Sansom and Lise de Baissac. This book has all the elements of a great thriller and the best part is that it is all true not historical fiction. The courageous clandestine acts of these women have been predominantly unrecognized both during and after WW ll. Those women accomplished great feats after only a very brief period of training due to wartime pressures. These women sacrificed everything towards defeating the Nazis. They accepted that the odds for their survival were slim. They have very little training due to wartime time constraints. Yet they were able to perform remarkable feats including: code breaking, blew up bridges, sabotaged the occupation etc. Lately there has been a plethora of historical fiction novels centering on women's roles involved in Resistance movements. D-Day Girls is the perfect historical text to read in order to clarify the actual events and scenarios that occurred during the WW ll time period leading to D-Day. Sarah Rose does a great job in explaining the evolution of women's participation in the SOE and other Resistance groups. This is a great companion book to be included in a reading list for WW ll history classes which include a unit on the Resistance.

  30. 5 out of 5

    BDW

    Good addition to the WWII histories. Strong and interesting characters and stories. Important coverage of women's role in the secret war to liberate France.

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