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 , 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 Andr E 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 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 positive than negative In general I really liked it, mainly because I learned 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 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. 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 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. GAVE ALLSo 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 DUEMeticulously 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 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 and 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. 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. 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. 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 compelling.After reading this I found books available about the SOE from D Day Girls has inspired me to be on the lookout for books about women who were involved with the SOE Thank you to Sarah Rose for writing this intriguing book. 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. 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.
- 416 pages
- D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
- Sarah Rose
- 07 April 2019 Sarah Rose