Nancy Wake: SOE's Greatest Heroine
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Nancy Wake: SOE's Greatest Heroine

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  19 reviews
By 1943, Nancy Wake, who had left Australia in her 20s, was number one on the Gestapo's most wanted list. She led a raid on Gestapo Headquarters in Montucon, killed a sentry with her bare hands and shot her way through road blocks. Her husband was executed by the Gestapo because he wouldn't reveal her whereabouts. This is her story.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by The History Press (first published 1958)
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Pete daPixie
Nancy Wake could have been a descendant of Hereward for all I knew. Thankfully I've read Russell Braddon's biography from 1956, and I've learned that she was one of those amazing heroines of the Second World War.
Not only is this a fantastic true life story, Braddon's lively narrative reads like a fictional bestseller. Nancy Wake was born in 1912 in Wellington, New Zealand and suffered a broken home after the family moved to Australia. She left home at 16 and traveled to London, New York and Pari...more
John
This is the most compelling real life story I have read since The Devil in the White City. What Nancy Wake did over the course of WW2 doesn’t seem like it could be true. All her escapades, escapes, and skirmishes would make James Bond jealous. But hers were real. In fact, I had to remind myself several times when reading, that it was real, not fiction.

I was awed by Wake’s humble beginnings in the resistance. She was a young, moderately wealthy woman who wanted to stop the Germans, and step by s...more
Bonnie
Another great read about one tough, intelligent, courageous woman fighting with the Resistance in France during WWII. Although written in the mid-50s without much description and fluff, this was a great read that described Australian-born Nancy who finds herself in France before the war, married to a well-heeled Frenchman. She takes her married-into-money, her name, her wits and her will to London to be trained, parachutes back into southern France and then leads her various groups of French Res...more
Erin
I rarely read adult books, especially biographies, but I picked this up after recently finishing the fictional Tamar by Mal Peet, a book about British SOE operatives invloved in the Dutch resistance during WWII. When I saw this, I thought it might be nice to read a nonfiction account of a resistance hero. Nancy Wake, married to a wealthy Frenchman and living in Marseille at the start of WWII, began to help Allied soliders escape occupied France early on in the war. After more than 2 years of sli...more
Emma
Nancy Wake, the New Zealand born, Australian bred, French Resistance member. Nancy played a key role in the liberation of France. Still in her early twenties this woman led the Maquis d'Auvergne and was crucial to the numerous secret operatives of sabotage and resistance played out during WWII by the French that refused to be conquered.

When I first picked this book up, knowing nothing about Nancy Wake, I was expecting another typically depressing and horrific war time story. On the contrary, thi...more
Jen
Nancy Wake was a true heroine of WWII, an SOE operative who survived when very few did. Born in New Zealand, Wake was working as a journalist in France in the 1930's. She met the very wealthy Henri Fiocca in 1937; they married in 1939.

Her marriage to one of the leading French industrialists provided Nancy with a life of leisure and luxury. When the Germans occupied France, however, Wake abandoned the pampered life and became a courier for the French Resistance. Known as the White Mouse, Wake was...more
Robin Webster
Russell Braddon has done a good job in telling the story of this amazing woman’s war time experiences. Born in New Zealand and married to a wealthy Frenchman at the start of the war she organized food and messages to resistances groups, started an escape line and ended up on the Gestapo’s most wanted list. After escaping to Britain in 1943 returned to France as a member of Special Operations Executive and became the leader of a 7000 strong branch of the resistance. She was an inspiration Sebasti...more
Myriam
This book was quite interesting and gave a good picture of the Resistance in France during WWII. It had some annoying points though. Like the author commented over and over about her femininity. I don't know if she (Wake) felt that was very important and that's why he did it, or if it was just important to him, or it just felt so different in that time (written in 1956), but it got kind of old. Also, it seemed like it just painted this fun easy picture of the Resistance movement. There were ofte...more
Rhiannon
This is a fantastically written history that still maintains a very human connection to the story. The telling of this often complicated journey was told in a way that was simple but not simplistic. I enjoyed it thoroughly. A definite must read for anyone interested in women's history, the french resistance or just ww2 in general.
Lisa
Jan 19, 2012 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Toni
If anyone needed a heroine, this book has the story of the perfect one. Nancy Wake is little known in the teachings of modern history in Australian schools but played an integral role in the french resistance. Nancy was brave beyond her years and took on dangerous responsibilities in an era when men fought the wars. It is no surprise that Nancy was decorated with medals following the war. I wish the story of Nancy Wake was as well known as other war heroes like Weary Dunlop. The book was difficu...more
Kathryn
Summary: Nancy Wake, a "Housewife of Marseilles County" leave behind a life of luxury to fight in the Resistance during World War II.

Why I Read This: For an article.

Review: This was actually not a bad book. Normally the books that I read for these articles are incredibly dull, but this one read kind of like an action movie. In fact, I expect a movie to be made about her very soon -- probably Steven Spielberg -- opulence and violence is an alluring combination.
Ann
Nancy Wake is one of the true heroines of the Second World War. Her daring feats and her six escape attempts from France will keep you on the edge of your seat. When she returns to Britain she then joins the British Operations Executive. Parachuted back to France to become the virtual leader of a 7,000 strong branch of the Maquis. This book tells the extraordinary wartime story of this exceptional woman. I highly recommend this book.
victoria.p
Highly enjoyable biography/history. Nancy Wake was an amazing badass. Where is the series of blockbuster movies about her?
Kate
Picked this up in a bookshop while away and read it pretty much in one go. While it may not give you an accurate overview of the French resistance it's a fascinating story of one woman's war. Nancy parachutes into France as a British SOE and virtually ends up leading an army of nearly 7,000 resistance fighters with a stuff -and-nonsense, just up roll your sleeves and get on with it attitude. Definitely worth a read.
Amy
For research re: French resistance during WWII. In terms of historical quality, a 2 out of 5 because it's one of those books that serve to glamorize and make the French Resistance seem heroic. It's definitely not an unbiased account. But in terms of specific details and readability, it's a 4 out of 5.
Marie Smith
A thoroughly compelling true story of genuine courage and devotion. Gripping from beginning to end, it is a tale not only full of the horrors of war but also love, friendship and humour.

For anyone interesting in resistance and SOE activities in occupied France this book is a must.
Grace Reasoner
loving this book! Way different perspective on the war and espionage in WW2. I really like this book and can't wait to see what happens next.
Kate
Another well read and falling apart favourite - this book sparked an ongoing love of history and the stories behind the headlines
Barbara Hiebing
Awesome book and a truly amazing woman!
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