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The Spy Wore Red: My Adventures as an Undercover Agent in World War II
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The Spy Wore Red: My Adventures as an Undercover Agent in World War II (The Spy #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,479 Ratings  ·  240 Reviews
When Aline Griffith was born in Pearl River, New York, in 1923, one might have guessed from her exceptional beauty that a career as an actress or a model would be in her future. Few would have imagined that twenty-one years later, she would find herself in Spain as a deep-cover OSS agent, infiltrating the highest levels of Spanish society; or that five years later still, s ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 12th 1987 by Random House (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

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May 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bronson
Recommended to Megan by: Deb Marcantano
Shelves: bookgroup
May 26, 2009
I LOVE spy stories--books, movies. I love the intrigue, the danger, the action, and the gadgets. This spy story about a woman spy during WWII was so interesting, mostly because it was true. The gadgets made me sad about how little technology they had in the 1940's--in their training they learned to write with invisible ink, file down their finger and thumb so that they'd have the sensitivity necessary to break into safes, and my personal favorite--they learned to fold a newspaper int
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Mary by: found it in a library
When WWII security official secrets sanctions were lifted, some very interesting books came out, such as Enigma, and biographies of various spymasters whose information changed the course of history. Aline Griffith's story was not unique, as there were many brave women doing dangerous undercover work all over the world then. Hers is certainly one of the most entertaining and glamorous, however. She was recruited by OSS while a 20 year old Hattie Carnegie model in New York. She was groomed and tr ...more
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teen to WWII veteran
Recommended to Sheree by: My Mother
Imagine a former American model wandering about the grandest palaces of Europe whilst wearing stilettos, haute couture designer wear and carrying a beretta in her evening bag. Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer could never pull that off! This spy thriller will leave you craving more as you learn a bit of "behind the scenes" activities of the OSS in Spain during WW II. This book includes tales of tea with royalty, intimate dinners with killers, delicate negotiating with Nazi's and avoiding death too man ...more
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredible story about an incredible woman. Aline Griffith was a model in New York in 1944 when she was recruited by the CIA and became a spy in Spain during WWII. I'm a fan of both espionage and WWII so this was a must read for me and didn't disappoint.
Jul 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very intriguing book. I enjoyed reading it a lot. I kept forgetting while I was reading it that the story was true. I kept thinking it was a fiction book, instead of being the non-ficition book that it is. The fact that these events really happened to Aline is what made the book so interesting to me.
Dec 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book gets four stars, not necessarily for its writing, but for being interesting. The writing is fine: it's clear, and doesn't interfere with the subject matter. I just love espionage, so reading the true story of someone who actually did it was fun for me.
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you can get your hands of this book - you will love it. It is one of my all time WWII Favorites. Aline is a model in New York who wants to do more and ends up posing as a spy in Europe - this is her story. I have loaned this book so much that it is held together by threads!
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Aline Griffith wants to join her brothers in helping her country during the war. But she's female and not old enough for the few professions that allow women to help. She complains to a man she meets on a double date and the next thing she knows she's on her way to be trained as a spy.
Sent to Spain to learn the local gossip is the easy part. Telling who is on her side is the hard part.

This book is labeled as non-fiction, but I found that really hard to believe. There are quite a few critics out
Tara Chevrestt
This is a memoir, but told in way that makes it hard to distinguish fact from fiction, even though it is from the first person POV. Aline is an American model during world war II with two brothers overseas fighting in the war. She wants to be over there as well so when an opportunity to be a spy for the "baby CIA," called the OSS at the time comes up, she jumps at the chance and heads to Washington for training.

This is the part I liked. I liked reading about invisible inks, crawling around on th
Nov 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people will like mystery & thrillers
Recommended to Mandy by: my book club
I started reading this last night. It's for our book club, which is Monday. I ordered it off Barnes and Noble and since it's out of print and I got it from a private seller three weeks ago, it hasn't come. So I found another copy and with under less than a week to do, I started reading it last night.

I was worried I wouldn't be able to put it down, but I read 175 pages last night, stayed up until 1 am in the morning reading it when I had to be up for work early. It is so much fun to read: WWII es
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I always recommend when people ask if I've read anything worthwhile lately. Reading it is like watching a good Alfred Hitchcock movie. It describes the thrilling tale of an average woman (okay, she was drop-dead gorgeous) who is recruited by the OSS to spy in Spain during WWII. It is based on a true story and my husband even liked it. That is saying something. The sequel is fun too. PG for peril and swearing.
Carol N.
Feb 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was such a good read. It's a memoir of a young New York woman who becomes a spy in WWII. Wow! She wanted adventure and she got it! Those spy movies you see, well, stuff like that really happens. I've ordered the next book, "The Spy Went Dancing" or something like that. What a character!
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mystery/Spy. Recommended to me by Jodi Burke in the Harvest Park 2nd Ward. It was a story based off of a woman's experiences as a spy in World War 11. It was very captivating, and I finished it in three days, staying up late into the night. It left me wanting to read her other two books.
Dec 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago when I was in junior high and have read it again since then. I love how it is based on real events of a female spy during WWII while it is written to read more like a fiction book.
Aline, Countess of Romanones, recounts her experiences as an undercover agent with the American Office of Strategic Services in Spain during World War 11.
Agents operated with the American Oil Mission in Spain as a cover. Other agents worked in the same office and gathered information to assure the success of Operation Overlord and Operation Anvil for the allies, major offensives against the Nazi Reich.
It was an interesting book, but it seemed as if it was all too easy to find the right people
Aug 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover (or at least the one I read) screams trashy novel but it actually is a nonfiction account of an American woman’s experience as an undercover agent in Spain during the Second World War. Interesting topic and you kind of have to love the courage this woman had but let’s face it, she’s not a writer. It was obvious from early on whom the mole was (even though the idiot who read the book before me didn’t seem to pick up on it until about 30 pages later). I found myself so irritated at her f ...more
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of a undercover woman living in Spain during WWII. It is interesting how Aline worked as a spy and got to know powerful people in Europe at the time and went to parties to learn more about them. I got really into her different love interests and wondered who she really liked, who really liked her, and who were just spying. It was hard to know who to trust. So I was amazed that this is a memoir of a real woman that this story actually happened to. I had to keep reminding myself of ...more
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, thank you for telling us about it Tonia. I always like a good adventure, and when it is a true story it makes it that much better. When I was looking to help Joshua find books he liked we read a lot of books covering WWII, and it is a time era a actually enjoy, I also really like history as well. This is the first book I read that really showed the involvement of women, most of the ones Joshua and I read where more about the soldiers, generals, and the battles. Even Three Agai ...more
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listening-to
Aline is an American girl who volunteers to help fight the Nazis during the war. She is recruited to become a spy and is sent to Spain. During her training she learns to ditch someone who is tailing her, kill if needed, fight to escape etc. She tells her tale in a matter-of-fact manner with details and names familiar to anyone who has learned about the WWII. It's a fascinating book that I am delighted to have come across. I had no idea the role Spain had in the war, so I feel not only entertaine ...more
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this real life WWII spy story fascinating. It had all the hallmarks of a fictional spy novel (glamorous parties, suave men, fancy clothing, code names, truth serum, invisible ink, spy cameras hidden in pens, car chases, murders and mysterious double agents) with the extra excitement of knowing that it all (mostly) really happened. I also thought the writing style was great. Enough description and background information to understand what was going on without getting too boring and well p ...more
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe a 2.5. I listened to this book, and I think that makes the experience quite different. I found her writing to be quite affected and somewhat melodramatic, and I doubt the authenticity of some of her experiences as remembered here. But I found the story (a young woman works for a CIA-like governmental agency in Spain during WWII) intriguing. Some flamboyant and interesting characters, but I won't be reading her other books.
Sep 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating!!! Don't judge the book by its cover. This a true story of a spy during World War II. The story will hold your attention and make you want more. My only issue with the book was the writing. The author switches between last and first names a lot and I was often confused about who the characters were. I also wished the ending was a little more developed and that the mole wasn't so obvious. But it is written by a model turned spy, so overlook the writing and just enjoy!
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Loved this and am amazed by this woman. Highly recommend this book to all.

Ignore the cheesy, dated cover art and just read the reviews on the back from Audrey Hepburn and Oscar de la Renta. This is a memoir written by Aline Countess of Romanones about her days as a spy in WWII. It is more thrilling and surprising than I could have ever guessed. I would love to read more about Aline's life after the war. She had to be a remarkable person for the challenges she faced.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite, spy-books
I read this in 1991 or so. Twenty years later I re-read this series again. Still one of my favorite books to date. This is a true story about a former model who became a spy during the WW2. So I got so intrigued and really enjoyed this series. Now out of print, but available from amazon market place.
Heidi Hooker
This is based on true experiences by the author, who was a spy in WWII. At first I was concerned I wouldn't be able to follow all the names and places that were being introduced, but I was able to easily follow the storyline. I found it really interesting and for a couple days after I finished it I found myself thinking about the characters in the novel. Overall a good book.
Dec 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was just discussing this book with some friends the other day and realized I'd forgotten to add it. Supposedly a true story about a woman who was a spy for the United States during WWII. Kind of a cross between a spy novel and chick-lit. I read both this one and "The Spy Wore Silk" and enjoyed them both. To be fair, I was in high school when I read them.

Mary Ronan Drew
Years ago when The Spy Wore Red was new and had just been released in paperback, I picked up a copy at a bookstore in Sag Harbor. I spent the rest of my Long Island visit sneaking time to read it. It captivated me. A true story of a real spy during World War II. . . .

To read the rest of my review go to my blog at:

An engrossing read. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a memoir and not fiction. It was interesting to learn about "The Farm" in its infancy and the latest technology (microfilm). My how things have changed! A good pick, Carol.
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: Jodi Rhodes
I enjoyed the story line of this book and found it interesting but my one complaint was it felt like a movie screenplay and there was not a lot of depth to the writing. Was this a translation into English?
Feb 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this when I was a teenager, and I think it might be geared toward that age group. It was great from what I remember. There was suspense and disguises, and all sorts of good 'secret agent' stuff. There was also a little bit of romance.
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Would The Spy Wore Red make a great film? 5 23 Nov 17, 2013 11:16PM  
How factual must a nonfiction book be? 2 11 May 14, 2012 09:23PM  
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Doña María Aline Griffith Dexter, Countess of Romanones, Grandee of Spain (born Pearl River, NY, 1923) is an American married to a Spanish aristocrat, socialite, writer and spy. She married the Count of Quintanilla in 1947 and they later became the Count and Countess of Romanones.

Aline was born in 1923 in New York, was working as a model when she was recruited to become an OSS agent in Spain wher
More about Aline, Countess of Romanones...

Other Books in the Series

The Spy (3 books)
  • The Spy Wore Silk
  • The Spy Went Dancing: My Further Adventures as an Undercover Agent

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