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Spy Princess: The Life Of Noor Inayat Khan
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Spy Princess: The Life Of Noor Inayat Khan

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  253 ratings  ·  48 reviews
This is the remarkable biography of Noor Inayat Khan, code named "Madeleine". The first woman wireless transmitter in occupied France during WWII, she was trained by Britain's SOE and assumed the most dangerous resistance post in underground Paris. Betrayed into the hands of the Gestapo, Noor resisted intensive interrogation, severe deprivation and torture with courage and ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 8th 2006 by Sutton (first published January 1st 2006)
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Violet wells

Noor Inayat Khan was the daughter of an Indian Sufi mystic of royal heritage and his American wife. The family lived in Paris before the second world war broke out and Noor wrote and published children’s stories. When the Nazis invaded France Noor and her family escaped to England where she joined the WAAF. Later she was recruited by SOE as a wireless operator and returned to Paris in what was one of the most dangerous jobs of the war (average life expectancy of an undercover wireless operator w
March is women's history month, at least here in the U.S. (I'm never sure if these months and days are an international thing. Earlier this week, it was Polar Bear Awareness day). Why do we need a woman's history month? Well, according to holiday and some textbooks (older ones), women just cooked, cried, and popped at babies, when they weren't being sluts. Thank good for PBS and other networks that show us differently.

Of course, here in the U.S., we only care about American women cause those Eur
I'm surprised this book isn't more well-known and that it took so long for someone to realize that this incredible woman deserved a full-length biography.

Noor was the daughter of an artistic Indian father and an American mother. Raised in France, she was a children's author who was about to embark on an ambitious illustrated children's newspaper called "Bel Age" ("the Beautiful Age") when Hitler invaded Poland.

She joined the WAAF and was trained as a radio operator, then joined the SOE. Many of
What an amazingly brave woman, and this is such a sad story. Very well researched and really makes the heroic events of SOE come alive.
Noor Inayat Khan's story is remarkable and this made for a page turner as the subject matter was so interesting.

Buuuut, my enjoyment (which seems like the wrong word given the Nazis and executions and so on) was severely hampered by the writing. The tone wildly oscillated from slavishly imagining the thoughts and feelings of an idealised heroine to sticking so closely to the facts as to make the writing both brief and vague. The narrative voice was continually jarring, I kept finding myself rol
This is the biography of an extraordinary woman. Born in Moscow of an Indian father, American mother and raised in the pacifistic Sufi Islamic tradition in France Noor Inayat Kahn's life was fascinating enough before she became a refugee in England from the Nazi onslaught across Europe. Taking England as her adoptive home Noor struggled with her pacifist convictions and pursued her desire to join the struggle of her adoptive country against a commin enemy of humanity. The first half or so of the ...more
Steve Merrick
Considering the importance of Noor Inayat Khans single handed radio transmissions from occupied Paris, her two escape attempts from avenue fosche Gestapo HQ, her bravery in the face of torture and failure to tell the interrogators a damn thing, her death after many many months of abuse in a concentration camp,and her final words after being raped and brutalized by a Nazi for an entire night, after all that she said "LIBERTE." Then this children's book author and hero died.....

Too much was taken
Aravind P
This is the story of a young woman, Noor Inayat Khan, born to an Indian sufi mystic father and an american mother. Born in Russia, they move to France where she, with her brothers and sister, grow up in a harmonious surrounding. The book talks a great deal about her good manners and discipline, pointing finger to her father's teachings that influenced the young Noor.

The main part of this book covers how she volunteers for the war preparations and becomes the first woman british spy to be recrui
This book is the inspiring biography of Noor Inayat Khan, daughter of an Indian spiritualist and an American who became an SOE agent, working as a wireless operator in occupied France during WW II. With respect to the story itself, it is truly inspiring. This tiny, shy, quiet girl is trained by the SOE, sent to Paris, and is the last surviving agent in her cell when she is finally captured. The courage that she showed is matched only by her determination to be a good agent for her side. The fact ...more
The biography of Noor Inayat Khan, this was a revelation to me. Noor was the first woman radio operator parachuted into France to work with the SOE operatives around Paris. She spent almost 4 months sending critical radio messages back to London for a large number of operatives before she was betrayed and captured by the Gestapo the day before she was due to fly back to England. Noor was executed at Dachau only a few months before it was reached by the allies.

This is a really moving story of a w
On Nov. 8, 2012 in London, Princess Anne unveiled Britain's first memorial to an Asian woman, honoring the incredibly brave wartime service of one of the Special Operations Executive's most heroic and mysterious wireless operators. The bust is of Noor Inayat Khan (codename: "Madeleine"), who was murdered in Dachau after her capture by the Nazis. But the even more amazing part of her story is well-told in this book. She was an Indian princess, a gifted harpist, a Sufi who wrote Buddhist fables fo ...more
This is my new favorite book, without a doubt. Shrabani Basu has done an excellent job telling the story of this extraordinary woman. Basu takes us through Noor's whole life, showing how a gentle, dreamy author and illustrator of children's stories came to be parachuted by the Special Operations Executive into France to work as a radio operator for the resistance. Her writing is compelling and powerful, whether describing Noor's childhood in Suresnes writing poems and playing music, her tense ca ...more
Pranathi Pothireddy
This is my first world war II book and for the first time I understood the implications of a war. A heart touching story of a brave girl born in Russia, to an Indian father (Royal Descendants of Tipu Sultan) and an American Mother and brought up in London and Paris. She became a British Spy later in her life to help French Resistance in Germany invaded France.

Noor Inayat Khan aka Madeleine. Though coming from a unconventional background and raised by a father who preached non-violence, she did a
Safiya Florence
The moving story of an incredibly beautiful, intelligent and spiritual young woman who gave her life to become a spy in German-occupied France during WWII. Why she wasn't rescued when she sent distress messages to her bosses in the UK, which led to her death in a German prison, will remain a mystery, but that was to be her destiny. This makes her a real selfless heroin we don't hear about often enough.
Amazing true story of a Muslim Indian princess who became a spy for England during WW II in German held Paris. Written in so much detail as to be barely readable. Too bad, because it is a story that should be more widely known.
Michelle Athy
The first time I heard of Noor Inayat Khan was on the website Rejected Princesses. Her story was fascinating to me and her life is the kind that I'd like to write about in my historical fiction for so many reasons. But if one was writing this as fiction, nobody would believe it. First, Noor had a mixed background: her mother was a white American, her father was an Indian Muslim. Noor was brought up in her father's Sufi faith and raised internationally: born in Moscow, lived in England and France ...more
Feb 09, 2009 Erna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every one who like read biography
This is a biography book. This book tells the life of Noor Inayat Khan, one of the great grand daughter of Tipu Sultan (one of the Moslem King in India) from her childhood life in France to her death in prison.

She was born in Moscow, and spent her childhood in France. Nora, how she named her self, and her family moved to England after the German attacked France.
During her teenage, she applied to be women air force in Britain (during WW II). However, she was recruited to be spy agent due to her
Andrea Cohen
Noor Inayat Khan's life was extremely interesting and her service very impressive. At times I got bogged down in the many names and dates in this book, making it a bit tricky to follow and keep people straight. This book did teach me a lot about this amazing woman, the intricacies of the secret service, and how devastating the results of the smallest mistake or bad choice can be in wartime.
Awesome true story of a truly brave and selfless WWII British radio operator stationed in France who, upon the collapse of her circuit, did the job of six operators and evaded the Nazis for months longer than anyone else had.

Oh and did I mention she was a shy Sufi woman who wrote children's books?
Kazimiera pendrey
this book was ok the content was an interesting account of a female SOE agent who was working under cover in occupied France. However the writing of the book was not up to much in my opinion.
Fascinating life this woman had, daughter of a sufi mystic and then was a secret agent assisting the French resistance against the nazis. However, the writing and editing was choppy. I didn't feel like the beginning section about her childhood was even written by the same person who wrote about her time in WW2.

In her childhood and pre-war period, the narrator comes across as a sycophant but as Noor/Nora ages the biographer/journalist starts to sink his/her teeth into the story, the first 20% re
a very good read. i cant believe this book isn't that popular.. only few know about the book. overall a good read. sticks to facts..
Very interesting - a lot detail about some of the other individuals impacting on her life that I skipped over.
Shan Williams
I was interested in the life of Noor got a bit lost with all the spy stuff including 3 or more aliases.
Neeti Verma
It build up slowly but tells a good story.
Did not finish. Although I was very intrigued by this woman, I couldn't get into her biography. Unfortunately, it reads a little bit like a high school report than an engaging biography; like just a list of information rather than a story. Perhaps it improved after the first chapter...

I'll watch the documentary instead.
Once you're through the early years and the war starts, it loses a little of the hero worship and settles into a tense, compelling, ultimately sad read. There should be an epic HBO miniseries about Noor Inayat Khan.
I read this book in preparation for a school topic on The Blitz which we have coming up. I had obviously heard of the undercover work carried out during the war, but had not heard of Noor.

This book is deeply moving and depicts such a brave young woman and her struggle to do the right thing and help others. None of us can imagine what it would have been like to live Noor's life, but it wasn't that long ago and we should not forget the sacrifices that were made.
This is the story of the first woman to go into occupied Paris as a secret agent and radio operator. It beautifully illustrates Noor's character and I love how this quiet, dreamy girl surprised everyone with her courage and strength, when they all thought she would fail.
I only give it four stars because it was full of a ton of historical information, at times there was too much and it bogged down the story because the details weren't properly set up.
This book came highly recommended to me and I liked it but didn't love it. It was very slow at times and the while the author does her best to explain all the espionage work, it gets confusing in parts. I did learn a lot about the dangers of working against the Germans in France and was amazed at the various ways the Allied forces used to combat the Germans. It own this book, if anyone wants it, let me know and I will pass it along.
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Shrabani Basu graduated in History from St Stephen’s College, Delhi and completed her Masters from Delhi University. In 1983, she began her career as a trainee journalist in the bustling offices of The Times of India in Bombay.

Since 1987, Basu has been the London correspondent of Ananda Bazar Patrika group --writing for "Sunday, Ananda Bazar Patrika, "and "The Telegraph."

Basu has appeared on radi
More about Shrabani Basu...

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