There have been some books that I have had to slog through, sticking with them because they were bogged with minutia but overall interesting; others I have flown through. This book is one of those that is hard to put down.
Virginia Hall is one of the most important American spies most people have never heard of.
Her story is on display at the CIA Museum inside the spy agency headquarters in Langley, Va. — but this is off-limits to the public.
“She was the most highly decorated female civilian during World War II,” said Janelle Neises, the museum’s deputy director, who’s providing a tour.
So why haven’t more people heard about Hall? A quote from Hall on the agency display offers an explanation: “Many of my friends were killed for talking too much.”
But now — more than 70 years after her wartime exploits in France, and almost 40 years after her death — Virginia Hall is having a moment.
The research on this book is superb. The exploits of Hall would be a highly-imagined fiction – but they are all true.
It probably isn’t inaccurate to say that she gave both the British SOE its first foothold in Nazi-occupied France with the establishment of dozens of networks, then gave the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, its first foothold. Beyond that, I don’t want to spoil it for you.
You’ll probably have a difficult time putting it down.