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The Heroines of SOE: Britain's Secret Women in France

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  62 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Female spies are often the stuff of legend and myth. Here, for the first time, Beryl Escott tells the true story of the incredible 40 women who worked for Britain's Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. These women came from a variety of backgrounds, from Gillian Gerson a Chilean actress, to the Irish Mary Herbert, recruited for her linguistic skills, t ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by The History Press
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Kathryn
There have been multiple biographies written about individual SOE women but Beryl Escott’s book is the first I know of that gives short biographies on all 40 of the women of the SOE’s F (French) Section, the largest section of the SOE.

What makes the SOE – an organization that recruited, supplied, and trained resisters in Nazi-occupied countries -- such a fascinating study is that it worked outside of the box, militarily-speaking, their end goal being the destruction of German communication and w
...more
Chris
Feb 11, 2011 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure when I learned about the S.O.E and the role that women played in it during the Second World War. I knew about them when I watched the movie Charlotte Gray, but not that much. It wasn't until a couple years ago that I knew more. I was at Borders and saw a copy of A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII out on the table. I can't say why I picked it up, but I did. And that greatly deepened my knowledge of SOE, and most likely sparked my currect interst in World Wa ...more
K. A. MacKinnon
The writing is clumsy, the facts often jumbled or vague. Feels overall like a high school essay. If it hadn't been a gift, I would have abandoned reading it ages ago.

If you're looking for a book that details all the SOE women, read the vastly superior Churchill's Angels by Bernard O'Connor.
Marie Smith
Apr 08, 2013 Marie Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good opening book in my start to researching the activities of the women involved in SOE F-Section. There is a lot to take in with the many different networks, which can cause confusion to a new reader on the subject, let alone the Germans during the day. :-)

Each chapter is dedicated to one of the 40 women and gives a good insight into their motivation in joining and the desire and drive to continue in such dangerous work. An ideal research book.
Liz
Jun 26, 2015 Liz rated it liked it
This was a difficult book to read at one sitting. The women whose war-time lives are recounted by Beryl Escott were courageous beyond imagining, often very young and many of them died in the course of their work, so each has to be given space to be remembered. The author's spare, factual style only serves to reinforce the often harrowing outcomes of their expeditions into occupied France.
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Also published as Beryl Escott

Squadron Leader Beryl E. Escott was born in Newfoundland and educated in Guernsey, South Wales, Lancashire, Yorkshire and at Durham University. She joined the RAF in 1961 and in her spare time edited magazines and wrote books for the service. On leaving the RAF in 1986, she started work on her first book in civil life, Women in Air Force Blue, a history of the service
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