In the early 1930s, Nancy Wake was a young woman enjoying a bohemian life in Paris. By the end of the Second World War, she was the Gestapo's most wanted person. As a naive, young journalist, Nancy Wake witnessed a horrific scene of Nazi violence in a Viennese street. From that moment, she declared that she would do everything in her power to rid Europe of the Nazis.
What began as a courier job here and there became a highly successful escape network for Allied soldiers, perfectly camouflaged by Nancy's high-society life in Marseille. Her network was soon so successful – and so notorious – that she was forced to flee France to escape the Gestapo, who had dubbed her 'the white mouse' for her knack of slipping through its traps. But Nancy was a passionate enemy of the Nazis and refused to stay away.
Supplying weapons and training members of a powerful underground fighting force, organising Allied parachute drops, cycling four hundred kilometres across a mountain range to find a new transmitting radio – nothing seemed too difficult in her fight against the Nazis. Peter FitzSimons reveals Nancy Wake's compelling story, a tale of an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things.
©2002 Peter Fitzsimons (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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Like (I assume) many of you reading this review, I had never heard of Nancy Wake before coming across this book. What a find! Her story was fascinating.
If you enjoy stories set in WW2 like I do, you'll enjoy this captivating biography of "The White Mouse" as she was referred to by the Gestapo.
She served as a British agent during the later part of World War Two and became a leading figure in the Maquis groups of the French Resistance. Up until this point, I thought the Maquis was a rebel group of space fighters (Chakotay, Seska and B'Elanna) battling against the Cardassians! HA! How stupid do I feel now?
Many people feel that the author's writing style was too humorous and therefore inappropriate but I disagree. I think the slightly dry, sarcastic tone fits the character perfectly! No nonsense, straight forward, not afraid to call a spade a spade. I enjoyed the writing style very much.
Nancy Wakes story is truly remarkable, she was engaged as a spy behind enemy lines and served with courage and pride, I urge every person who is interested in WWII and SOE to read this book, it is superbly written, wittty enough to show her true personality and serious but easily read to understand the terrible risks she undertook. She was also one on the only persons not to receive a medal after the war because of her colonial background. You must read this it is riveting.
I had never heard of Nancy Wake prior to listening to this book. She is a true hero. This book is well written and almost perfectly read. I found it very difficult to stop. If this book had been a novel, you might have said "right, who makes this stuff up?" I loved the whole story, from Nancy's time in America and England to her carefree life in Paris. The writing gave the real feel of the Paris streets, the parties and Nancy's step by step change from free spirited wife to resistance fighter. I find it very interesting to read about ordinary people who find themselves in circumstances that bring out extraordinary responses. To see a young woman (not that different from me) who becomes a leader of the French Maquis (thousands of them in fact), and is recognized as having such a great impact on their success is amazing. WWII is full of stories of those who rose to the occasion and did the right thing. What happened after the war was sad in it's anticlimactic return to "normal" life.
Not great literature, but an inspiring read.
This book was great. I was sorry when it was over. I generally read non-fiction and love to learn about previously unknown (to me) women from the past. This book moved swiftly and brought to life a part of the WWII resistance in France. A woman in a man's world who was greatly respected by them.
Ever heard of Nancy Wake? Well, you probably should have. She was an incredible WWII heroine. What guts this woman had. She was a native Australian who became an undercover agent and explosives expert. She did not seem to flinch at facing the most terrifying of circumstances in order to do what needed to be done. She was responsible for helping countless people get out of France before they could be taken by the Germans. She herself was caught at one point, but she never gave up, and after regaining her freedom, went right back to putting it to the Germans.
I was amazed at the courage and determination of this woman, and wonder why I had never heard of her before.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
This is one of those cases where you read about someone who really impacted history and you're astounded that you've never heard of them before. What a pity that is. Nancy Wake's life during WWII needs to be a movie.
I loved this book. No, the writing isn't fabulous. Nor is the narration. But the heroine is so wonderful it outshines everything. She's just a marvelous character - perhaps born too early for a world that wasn't quite ready for her.
It struck me just how bad we are at integrating veterans back into society once they've made their contribution. Many have lead exciting lives doing impossible things in the face of great danger and yet we expect them to be able to come back into a humdrum world and be fine. Her explanation of life after the war illustrates it perfectly. And her story proves that one woman can make a huge difference.
Haven't been able to finish this one as it seems to repeat itself a great deal. Really enjoyed learning about Nancy Wake and her adventures; will seek out other media about her. If you can find this book for free, in a library or from a friend, then check it out. It may be better in hard copy because you can flip past the repetitive and boring parts. I got about halfway through the audiobook so I suppose it's worth the credit, but I'm hoping there are better books and movies out there about Nancy Wake. Actually, I think she should be the subject of the next big superhero movie!
I did not previously know about Nancy Wake. And it had been a good long time since I learned much about WWII history. So reading about her story and the role of France in the war was probably the only thing that made me finish this book. I found the constant french pronunciation of words to be very distracting. And the narrator does a lot of very audible swallowing at the end of many of the longer sentences.
If you like history, especially when a woman is the subject of the story then maybe this is for you. So many others seemed to have loved this book but for me, it was just too drawn out and hard to listen to.
The story lacked intrigue
Nancy Wake - for me a great Australian whose history is intriguing. The book did not capture this for me.
I think the story suffered from the style of Peter FitzSimons' writing. Very pedestrian style.
This is a remarkable story of courage and grit in WW2. Nancy Wake is, or was, a real war hero. The audiobook is fair...maybe 20% too long, but that is a problem with the book. Not especially well written. The narration was about average. It was another time--an individual like this could really make a difference. Yes, these people really did exist.
"well worth the read"
While I myself had never heard of Nancy Wake and only found the book by browsing owing to a few idle few minutes, If you have any interest in the 2nd world war or espionage and courage displayed of real live heros/heroines you will enjoy this book. I can recomend it both as great listening educational and enlightening experience as well as being thought provoking on how her own country ignored her for so long.
Truly one of Australia's un-sung hero's. What a life Nancy lead. I would thoroughly recommend this book but with the caution, you don't quite know or believe what shes going to do next !!
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