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The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy

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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  3,102 ratings  ·  291 reviews
The secret story of Virginia Hall, America's greatest World War II spy heroine.
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Lyons Press (first published October 1st 2005)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Start your review of The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy
Kirk Shrewsbury
Well, I wish they would put this on the reading list for my old class, "Women and the American Experience," that I took at Harvard, but I think it might not be politically correct. This woman was so patriotically dedicated to her country that she circumvented and overcame all the obstacles set against her gender at the Dept of State and instead became the most wanted Allied spy in occupied France during WW II. Despite clear gender discrimination, by sheer dedication and determination, she rose t ...more
Jeanette
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the biography of Virginia Hall. She was an American citizen who lead a cosmopolitan European lifestyle/ work career during the 1930's and ultimately became entrenched in covert SOE operations. In fact she was one of the first and one of the most numerous "returners" to defeated Vichy France. Furthermore, she was the only woman operating her own entire section underground within the French resistance movement during WWII. She was totally an intrepid, incredible personality from her younge ...more
BAM Endlessly Booked
The Special Operations Executive, the British spy unit during WWII, sent around 480 agents into France to assist in the Resistance. Forty of those agents were women. The most honored of these is Virginia Hall, an American amputee.
She was a radio transmitter, detonater, collaborator. For three years she escaped capture. She had strong instincts and great fortitude. After the war she joined the CIA. This is her story
Steve
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: warfare, non-fiction
While I can't really say this book was enjoyable due to the content, it was certainly informative and very interesting. Parts were rather difficult to read, due to what was being explained, but also, wasn't hidden or obfuscated. The chapters were a little long for my liking, but I would be interested to read more about unsung heroes of World War II. ...more
Erin Boyington
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, biography
The Wolves at the Door by Judith L. Pearson is subtitled 'The story of America's greatest female spy', and I don't think that is an exaggeration. Virginia Hall was born into a well-off American family and could have had a quiet life tending a Victory garden during the war. But she was an intelligent and ambitious woman, so she chose a different life.

Before the start of WWII, Hall worked at several US consulates in Europe, trying to gain entrance to become a Foreign Sevice Officer. Her gender sto
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Kathy
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting true account. Because it is true, it reads more like a long newspaper or magazine report on a factual matter. I found the facts fascinating and came to a much greater understanding of the courage and importance of the people who formed the French Resistance. I did not know about Vichy France and its leaders in WWII. Reading about how many French had treated the Jews was shocking to me and gave me more background info on an excellent foreign DVD, Sarah's Key, I'd seen r ...more
Margie
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have learned many things from this book. I would recommend this book to anyone to read. It gives hope in times of trouble. It shows that even people who have disabalities capable of amazing things. In times of trouble Virgina Hall gave herself over to fighting Nazies in France because of the evil they were. SHe put her life in perial for years because of what she believed. I admire people who are able to give up all.
Jennifer Mangler
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history
Virginia Hall was a fascinating woman, and Pearson's book really does her justice. I am as amazed by her willingness to keep going towards danger as I am impressed by her competence and shrewd instincts. I learned so much about the Resistance from this book. ...more
Loretta Marchize
This was a good book (for a school book) I started it a while ago and it was my English reading. Judith is a great writer and Virginia's story was very entertaining. It kept me reading, which for a school book is amazing.
The chapters were SUPER LONG. That was annoying because for school I like to read 1 chapter every day. I was okay though. Virginia had such a good life. 5 star book! I'm glad I read it!
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Lauren
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5
Well researched. Mostly well written. Incredible story of a remarkable woman, the SOE, OSS, and the resistance.
Edna
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this little known American spy story. It does read like a textbook sometimes, but well worth the read.
Teacatweaves
Granted, Judith Pearson does an amazing job of researching the material for this book, but she needs to find better editors. I read this as part of my book club requirement. The subject matter was interesting, and there was a lot of information about WWII which you would not find covered in a high school history class, more's the pity.

It seems to me that Virginia maintained her "spy at a moment" mode because of how private she was and determined to keep her life in espionage alive. There must ha
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Eduard Kutscher
Virginia Hall was a woman with a huge capital W! Thanks to her and other's like her the Nazis were defeated and the European countries liberated. Virginia played a very important role in France's Resistance during the WW2. She was courageous, smart, with a good sixth sense. During the WW2 she lived a life full of danger, death, uncertainty... One would think that a book about her must have been interesting, engaging and readable. But unfortunately it wasn't. During the reading I felt like readin ...more
Morgan
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book! It was fascinating this truly great woman did all the things she did and took leadership roles because of her skill, intelligence, and strength and most it on behalf of a foreign nation! I was amazed by all of her real accomplishments and was reminded that throughout history women have taken leadership roles and made differences in the world. I sometimes need the reminder that any attempts to minimize the roles of women are from cultural influences not the true demonstrated ab ...more
Jeslyn
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Once again, a good editor would have been helpful - not to trim down the writing, but to improve it. The book unfortunately is not well written from a grammar standpoint, but even worse is the problem that what should be a fascinating, gripping account of "America's greatest female spy" is treated almost perfunctorily. Information on drops, circuits, fellow spies, etc. is all delivered in a very ho-hum manner, and usually given only the briefest treatment.

Virginia Hall deserves better attention
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Kristin Peters
I feel bad giving this 3 stars. Virginia hall was an amazing woman, but this could have been written in a way that brought this amazing historical story to life for the reader. Instead, it was full of historical facts, politics, french spy code names that were difficult to follow. I finished it because I love history, but it was difficult to finish.
D
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was alright, an honest and what seemed to be accurate portrayal of a female spy during WWII. It never really grabbed me though. One great part while attempting to flee France and get back to England.
Gary
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great (true) story about an amazing women.
Jennifer
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this biography about one of the first female spies operating during WWII. Great exploration of the gender dynamics of the times as well as a small side note dealing with disability.
Anne Bolgert
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes felt a little swamped in the details, but an incredible story nonetheless. Also very informative about WWII in general, and British and US intelligence operations in particular. Finally, I appreciate that Pearson didn't wrap the story into a pretty bow at the end, but instead was straightforward about the sexism that Hall confronted throughout her career and that especially inhibited her postwar career. ...more
Mary
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a remarkable secret agent in WWII

I loved the true story of such a remarkable and feisty woman who was a secret agent during WWII. She overcame her physical handicap and was a real force to be reckoned with as she took on the Germans and the French.
Woogie! Kristin!
This was excellent, a fast read for a biography and I thank the friend that reminded me I actually already had it!
Rachel Tilly
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Read

Fascinating account of Virginia Hall, an American spy in France during WWII. Even though the US wasn’t involved in the war for a few years, Virginia jumped in to the fray and was eager to use her unique skills to make a difference in the war—defeating the Nazis was her priority and she played a significant part in their ultimate demise. Amazing woman who just did the right thing and wasn’t interested in praise or accolades.
Joel Ungar
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Great story.

Hard to put down. For a book with almost no dialogue, it was riveting. Very glad I chose to read this well-written, well-told story.
Dr.J.G.
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is intriguing enough, but the story is a punch after punch, so impressive is the woman it's about - in an era when women were mostly homebodies, not merely due to restrictions but just as often because they, when from well to do circles, expected to be taken care of and were, and had only to worry about dressing and hosting events, this woman, born in 1906, chose education and career in a steadfast manner, and nothing safe or cosy either.
............

"This is no time for ease and comfor
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Dr.J.G.
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is intriguing enough, but the story is a punch after punch, so impressive is the woman it's about - in an era when women were mostly homebodies, not merely due to restrictions but just as often because they, when from well to do circles, expected to be taken care of and were, and had only to worry about dressing and hosting events, this woman, born in 1906, chose education and career in a steadfast manner, and nothing safe or cosy either.
............

"This is no time for ease and comfor
...more
Bob Schmitz
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-wwii
It is an interesting story. Virginia Hall grew up in a rich progressive family in Maryland. She aspired to work in the diplomatic service and got a job as a secretary in the US Polish embassy but was passed over a number of times for entry into the diplomatic tract. With the outbreak of WWII she wanted to serve the Allied cause and volunteered with the French Ambulance service at the front lines. and was working in England when she was approached about serving as a spy in Vichy France. As the US ...more
Jim Aker
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage
A biographical account of the wartime experiences of American Virginia Hall who operated in Nazi occupied France as an officer for the British SOE (Secret Operation Executive) and later for the combined Intelligence operation through the American OSS (Office of Strategic Services) forerunner of the CIA. Ms. Hall was indeed a remarkable woman who's dream of a career in US foreign Service was cut short by a hunting accident that took her right leg below the knee. The accident would have discourage ...more
Vanessa Couchman
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating account of the life of Virginia Hall, an American woman who was the first Special Operations Executive to be smuggled into France in May 1941. She was one of that breed who, frustrated by the pre-war glass ceiling, came into their own during World War II.

Hall developed and ran a highly effective network, helping downed airmen to regain England, keeping SOE informed of German activities and everyday life in occupied France, coordinating air drops of supplies and agents and,
...more
Mazola1
The Wolves at the Door tells the little known tale of Judith Pearson, who was a spy in occupied France during World War II. Judith Pearson's story is one full of risk, courage and intrigue. With one leg amputated below the knee due to an accident in her youth, Pearson was still able to accomplish feats which would have been difficult for anyone. Her story is as remarkable as the woman herself. Pearson was unfazed by danger, and willingly undertook missions which were extremely dangerous. She ove ...more
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WW2 Spy Novels group now available 1 7 Feb 27, 2014 09:14AM  

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Best-selling and award winning author Judy Pearson’s career began in a tree: a wonderful old maple in her parents’ backyard, with a perfect branch on which to sit and write. Now hundreds of thousands of words later, this Michigan native’s voice is still inspiring!

Judy is a graduate of Michigan State University and has newspaper, magazine, online articles, and four books to her credit. She is also
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