Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than ten thousand women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, bestselling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.
The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father's footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.
As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris's Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.
Betty Pack was charming, beautiful, and intelligent - and she knew it. As an agent for Britain's MI-6 and then America's OSS during World War II, these qualities proved crucial to her success. This is the remarkable story of this "Mata Hari from Minnesota" (Time) and the passions that ruled her tempestuous life - a life filled with dangerous liaisons and death-defying missions vital to the Allied victory.
For decades, much of Betty's career working for MI-6 and the OSS remained classified. Through access to recently unclassified files, Howard Blum discovers the truth about the attractive blond, codenamed "Cynthia," who seduced diplomats and military attach??s across the globe in exchange for ciphers and secrets; cracked embassy safes to steal codes; and obtained the Polish notebooks that proved key to Alan Turing's success with Operation Ultra.
Beneath Betty's cool, professional determination, Blum reveals a troubled woman conflicted by the very traits that made her successful: her lack of deep emotional connections and her readiness to risk everything. The Last Goodnight is a mesmerizing, provocative, and moving portrait of an exceptional heroine whose undaunted courage helped to save the world.
Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War: the stories of four courageous women - a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow - who were spies.
After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O'Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives.
Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies' descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war. With a cast of real-life characters including Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoleon III, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy draws you into the war as these daring women lived it.
Iconic fashion designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel?wanted to both hide her life story and to share it, a contradiction that confounded previous potential biographers. In this well-researched and buoyant biography, fashion writer Garelick's stated goal is to analyze the "uncanny historical reach of Coco Chanel" and the ways in which Chanel's constant reinvention provides a model for modern women. From Chanel's childhood in the Loire Valley?? "characterized by illness, poverty and abandonment??" to her infirm final years, when her closest companion was her butler, Francois Mironnet, Garelick (Rising Star) reveals the dramatic details that Chanel decided to publicly disclose and those facts she hid or embellished.
While the book is even-handed in its critical, probing approach to Chanel's life, its strongest chapter concerns its very core: the designer's intimate relationship to fascism and fascists, such as writer, diplomat, and Vichy official Paul Morand, the German intelligence officer Hans Gunther von Dincklage, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Garelick deftly situates Chanel in political and cultural history; in addition, the book's extensive archival sources and new interviews make it a valuable resource for scholars.
Aisin Gioro Xianyu 1907-1948 was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in Chinas bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyus father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus to their former glory. Her fearsome dedication to this cause ultimately got her killed.
Yoshiko had a fiery personality and loved the limelight. She shocked Japanese society by dressing in mens clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted in Japans media as a new Joan of Arc. Boasting a short, handsome haircut and a genuine military uniform, Commander Jin was credited with many daring exploits, among them riding horseback as leader of her own army during the Japanese occupation of China.
Few people can say they've seen some of the most significant moments of the twentieth century unravel before their eyes. Marita Lorenz is one of them. Born in Germany at the outbreak of WWII, Marita was incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp as a child. In 1959, she travelled to Cuba where she met and fell in love with Fidel Castro. Yet upon fleeing to America, she was recruited by the CIA to assassinate the Fidel. Torn by love and loyalty, she couldn't bring herself to slip him the lethal pills. Her life would take many more twists and turns--including having a child with ex-dictator of Venezuela, Marcos Perez Jimenez; testifying about the John F. Kennedy assassination; and becoming a party girl with close ties the New York mafia (and then a police informant).
Most students of the Old West and American law enforcement history know the story of the notorious and ruthless Pinkerton Detective Agency and the legends behind their role in establishing the Secret Service and tangling with Old West Outlaws. But the true story of Kate Warne, an operative of the Pinkerton Agency and the first woman detective in America - and the stories of the other women who served their country as part of the storied crew of crime fighters - are not well known. For the first time, the stories of these intrepid women are collected here and richly illustrated throughout with numerous historical photographs.
In Queen of Spies, Paddy Hayes recounts the fascinating story of the evolution of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from World War II to the Cold War through the eyes of Daphne Park, one of its outstanding and most unusual operatives. He provides the reader with one of the most intimate narratives yet of how the modern SIS actually went about its business whether in Moscow, Hanoi, or the Congo, and shows how Park was able to rise through the ranks of a field that had been comprised almost entirely of men.
Queen of Spies captures all the paranoia, isolation, deception of Cold War intelligence work, and combines it with the personal story of one extraordinary woman trying to navigate this secretive world. Hayes unveils all that it may be possible to know about the life of one of Britain's most celebrated spies.
In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessed colleague in a hotel in the South Kensington district of London. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising; that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable.?
The daughter of a feckless Polish aristocrat and his wealthy Jewish wife, Granville would become one of Britain?s most daring and highly decorated special agents. Having fled to Britain on the outbreak of war, she was recruited by the intelligence services and took on mission after mission. She skied over the hazardous High Tatras into occupied Poland, served in Egypt and North Africa, and was later parachuted behind enemy lines into France, where an agent?s life expectancy was only six weeks.
They came from all walks of life, and from all over France. Professionals and housewives, grandmothers and teenagers, they were drawn to or drawn into the Resistance, perhaps by a heightened sense of moral outrage, or just because their husbands, lovers, brothers needed their assistance. Ultimately, they would all come together in Nazi concentration camps, where the petty harassment they once endured as furtive members of undercover cells would wither in comparison to unimaginable horrors. As the war escalated, so did the savagery of their captors.
Two hundred and thirty women began the journey into Hitler's hell at the death camps at Birkenau and Auschwitz; by the time the Allies arrived to liberate them at Mauthausen, only 49 were left. Through primary interviews with the seven?survivors and other groundbreaking research, distinguished English journalist and biographer Moorehead potently demonstrates how this disparate group of valiant women withstood the atrocities of the Nazi regime through their abiding devotion to each other. Heightened by electrifying, and staggering, detail, Moorehead's riveting history stands as a luminous testament to the indomitable will to survive and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.
Though she lived only to twenty-seven, Sarah Aaronsohn led a remarkable life. The Woman Who Fought an Empire tells the improbable but true odyssey of a bold young woman - the daughter of Romanian-born Jewish settlers in Palestine - who became the daring leader of a Middle East spy ring. Following the outbreak of World War I, Sarah learned that her brother Aaron had formed Nili, an anti-Turkish spy ring, to aid the British in their war against the Ottomans. Sarah, who had witnessed the atrocities of the Armenian genocide by the Turks, believed that only the defeat of the Ottoman Empire could save the Palestinian Jews from a similar fate. Sarah joined Nili, eventually rising to become the organization's leader. Operating behind enemy lines, she and her spies furnished vital information to British intelligence in Cairo about the Turkish military forces until she was caught and tortured by the Turks in the fall of 1917.