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
Am now 80 and been avid reader since childhood. Have 3 children, 7 grandchildren. Narrated Talking Books for Vision Australia 35 yrs.
What a joy to listen to Peter FitzSimons's biography of this incredible lady's or maybe larrikin's is a better word, biography and narrated as though by Nancy herself. Having grown up in WW2, with my father and brother participating, my memories are very clear of the stories of courage during that time. Mr FitzSimon writes great books and articles and I downloaded this book with relish and was not disappointed.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
Peter FitzSimons tells the life story of an extraordinary Australian heroine in Nancy Wake. Nancy Wake grew up poor in Australia after her father abandoned the family about 1915 when Nancy was 2 or 3. At 16 she ran away from the city to the outback and worked as a nurse.
At 18, she inherited a small sum from an aunt and went by ship to New York, where she learned to party, and then on to London, where she became a journalist and continued the party life. While on assignment in Vienna during the 30's, Nancy watched Nazi gangs beating Jews at random in the streets and vowed she would do anything she could to defeat Hitler. In 1939, she married a wealthy Frenchman and lived in Marseilles, living the high life of drinking and parties.
After the fall of France in 1940, Nancy acted as a courier for the Resistance, and also became part of an escape network which helped thousand of Allied troops escape to England. Despite the danger, she continued the work after Marseilles was occupied and became the Gestapo's most wanted person, with a reward of 5 million francs offered. After being arrested and rescued, she escaped to Spain by crossing the Pyrenees mountains on foot.
Back in England Nancy trained with Special Operations and parachuted back into the Auvergne region of France to liaise with the local maquis group. She gained acceptance and respect from the fighting men by drinking them all under the table and then by being braver than all of them. By the end of the war, her maquis group had grown to 7,000 plus, and had a remarkable fighting record.
How can you not like a woman who, while dangling from a tree by her parachute, replies to a Frenchman's remark about the beautiful fruit of the tree, "Don't give me that French s---!"
FitzSimons tells Nancy's story in a somewhat journalistic style. Nancy lived to be 98 and died in 2011, so he had the opportunity to talk with her many times and make it a more personal story than a straight biography. She was a very colorful, down to earth person, and her personal recollections add to the enjoyment of the narrative. Stephanie Daniel does an excellent job of narration.
Fascinating and entertaining.
As a person with dyslexia, audio books give me the opportunity to "read" wonderful books that I would otherwise miss. Thank you for this fabulous service.
What a great story. A girl with more curiosity and determination than sense left her home in Australia and found herself in the middle of France during WWII.
This is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, but one of the things I most enjoyed about it was that the author did not paint Nancy as a saint. She smoked and swore and could out-drink most men. She was willful and had some definite personality quirks. I had to keep reminding myself how young she was and the attitudes of the time. (She was just a few years older than my mother.) All this made it much more interesting for me.
I am so glad that I saw this book. It would make great reading for young women, late high school and college age.
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.
This was a great story, full of adventure, drama, intrigue. The main character, Nancy Wake, had a larger-than-life experience. She lived through a period where there were clear delineations of good and evil and she fought for the right because it was the right thing to do and it had to be done.
I'm a country potter, gardener, flute player and tin tinker living with my husband, an electrical engineer & cabinet maker.
I'd never heard of Nancy Wake so all of this was new to me. She did everything she could to fight against the Nazis. Actually, to fight for humanity and against cruelty. It's amazing to think what suffering some people have endured and here we are in America willing to sell freedom for something as ordinary as cash.
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.
Nancy Wake's story is astounding. If this were a fiction book, I might say the character was over the top, but plenty of witnesses have contributed to the claims of this book. Granted, war stories can be exaggerated, but this one rings (mostly) true. Perhaps the most unbelievable point in the story for me was Nancy's transition from an amateur courier to a professional resistance soldier. It seems to happen so easily for her. Don't listen to the appendices unless you want to be let down. Like all of us, Nancy is only human and has her faults. Kudos to the author, however, for not sugar-coating her character.
The flippancy of the writing, and reading, of the book matched the tone very well, overall.
Nancy Wake was a woman of extraordinary heroism, and this is a story of a truly fascinating life - at least up to the end of WW2. Her bravery and sheer determination are inspiring. It is interesting and quite sad, however, that the rest of her life seems such an anticlimax after her experiences in the war - reminds me of the David Hare play, "Plenty".
However, this book is like a hagiography - obviously the author loves his subject, but somehow the portrayal of her lacks depth and feels airbrushed. The narrator also lets the overall impact down with a rather stilted delivery, but I think she is doing the best she can with material that is sometimes fairly clunky.
I love books!
I had never heard of Nancy Wake before coming across this story. What an amazing life, though, most of us won't ever come close to it. This wasn't like a thriller that you couldn't put down but it was an enjoyable listen that I blew right through.
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