I am an avid eclectic reader.
“Nancy Wake: A Biography of our Greatest War Heroine” by Peter FitzSimons was published in 2010. FitzSimons is an Australian journalist. Nancy Wake was the most decorated women from World War II. FitzSimons’ well-paced and compelling biography is well-documented. FitzSimons drew his research from earlier biographies such as Russell Braddon’s “Nancy Wake: the Story of a Very Brave Woman” published in 1956 and Wake’s autobiography “The White Mouse” published in 1985. FitzSimons also had many interviews with Nancy Wake as well as fellow agents, resistance fighters and Colonel Buckmaster. Buckmaster was head of the British Special operations (BSO).
Wake was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1912. The book covers her early childhood in New Zealand and Australia. After she finished school she moved to England where she learned to be a journalist. She obtained a job as a European correspondent for the Hearst Newspaper and was stationed in Paris. In the 1930’s she witnessed the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement. She reports seeing roving Nazi gangs beat Jewish men and women in the streets of Vienna.
In 1937 Wake married wealthy French industrialist Henri Edmond Fiocca (1898-1943). They were living in Marseille, France when Germany invaded. Nancy became a courier for the French Resistance, then help set up the escape network to help escaping allied soldiers and Jews. The Gestapo called her “The White Mouse”. She became the most wanted person by the Gestapo with a reward for her capture. She had to escape to Britain herself where she was recruited by Colonel Buckmaster. She was trained by the British Special Operations and parachuted into Auvergne, France in 1944. She led over 7000 Maquis, equipping them with the latest arms from England, training them and leading them on assigned (BSO) attacks against the Germans. At the end of the war Wake learned her husband was tortured and killed by the Gestapo because he would not reveal her whereabouts.
FitzSimons’ narrative authentically captures the tone and atmosphere of Wake’s hazardous life. He breathtakingly describes her escapades against the Germans. Wake died in a Veterans home in England on 7 August 2011. For those of you who read German, I understand German author Michael Jurgs wrote a biography of Wake called “Nancy Wake and her fight against the Gestapo in France”. It was published October 2012. Stephanie Daniels did a good job narrating the book and pronouncing all the French names. If you are interested in history and women in war you will enjoy this book.
The amazing Nancy Wake lived life LARGE. But unlike a tale of simple heroics, Peter Fitzsimmons doesn't shy away from the trouble she had reintegrating into a world not at war, how she never felt at home in Australia, her financial worries, her failure at politics and her tumultuous relationship with her mother, amongst other things that made her seem terribly human. I admired her bravery and her cleverness, but I felt for her because of her faults. But she had the last laugh! Well played, Nancy. Recommend.
My favourite audiobook of all time! What a character she was!
Her escape from Nazi - occupied France into Spain, this woman wasn`t taking any nonsense from anyone!
Unfortunately I haven`t listened to any of Stephanie Daniel`s performances before, but will look out for in the future.
Nancy`s treatment after the war, after all the challenges she faced and overcame during it, how could she manage after? Life would seem dull to anyone.
Yes, This is the history and one brave womens fight for our country.
Nothing but extreme pride in what this woman did for our country
There was so much that we didn't know about how horrific that war was and the brutality of the German Soldiers. It make's me wonder if History will repeat it's self. It sure looks like it.
Nancy was a spy during WWII. She had never imagined she would do such a thing. But she was in the right places at the right times to be recruited for this job. She had a distinctive flare and was quite good at misleading the enemy. This book presents Nancy as almost an urchin growing up in Australia, but with great intelligence and drive. She was glad to give up her childhood and eagerly embraced the glamorous prewar life in Europe. With her looks and love of fashion, she was attractive and met many notable people. In her role as spy, she accomplished a great deal for the Allies and for the role of women in the military.
I had never heard of Nancy Wake before picking this title up on sale, but it was a very interesting story. She led a courageous life in France during WWII, although it sounds like she may have been underappreciated after the fact for what she did. It also seems like she was one of those people made for adventure and she had some trouble adapting to "boring" civilian life after the war and I feel bad for her for that. I really enjoyed the story though & recommend it.
I enjoyed listening to Trapeze, but it was fictional. I wanted to find a real story about a real British SOE in France. Nancy Wake came up in Google. A great find. Like Trapeze, the main figure did not display Judeo-Christian moral principles as it pertains to her love life/relationships. Yet her moral principles in all other respects were very tenaciously high. Her conviction in freedom and justice for all was her drive. She says she did not believe in God because her over zealous mother who suffered from depression and always had her nose in the Bible continued to tell Nancy she was going to go to Hell for not being more obedient etc.It was the best book I have read in a while.
Peter Fitzsimmons has written this remarkable story with a great understanding of Nancy as a forthright gusty Australian woman of her time. She also had a great appreciation of French and British culture. Most unusual for her day as an Australian, she was so obviously bilingual speaking French fluently. Stephanie Daniel reads this story beautifully.
It is not surprising that Nancy was well recognised by the French, Americans and British for her courage and valuable service in WW2 with the Resistance in France under extremely dangerous circumstances.
As an Australian whose father fought in WW2 and mother did a "man's" job of management during the War, I found this story fascinating and inspiring. I had not been aware of what Nancy actually did until I came across this book. It is so well written, just a joy to hear.
Highly recommended, most worthwhile.
CPA, CFP, and serial audiophile.
I have always had a big interest in WWII, but happened to read about Nancy Wake while browsing for history books. What? Who? Huh? This incredible Australian's life reads like fiction, but it's absolutely true. Why did I not learn about her in school?
Nancy may have been able to get down and dirty with the best of them, but what really makes this story unbelievable is that she was a beautiful woman who could play any part necessary to get what she wanted. And what she wanted was justice for the jews and the WWII Allies. Incredible. The author does a great job of telling Nancy's story, including her formative childhood years - always a rebel. The Australian accent sounds spot on to my American ears, but you may want to take that with a grain of salt.
As they said about Margaret Thatcher, she was many times the only man in the room. For why I did not learn about her in school 40 years ago, that's still a mystery, but her story needs to be told. Highly recommended.