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
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.
Bold, courageous, charismatic
The 400 km bike ride journey to secure a replacement radio
Yes--but I couldn't
Great book if you love non-fiction that's bigger than life
Nancy Wake was an eye opener to the sacrifices being made during WWII. I new little of the French Resistance until I read this book.
WOW! This true story biography is what fiction aspires to be. During World War II, Nancy Wake (a.k.a. the White Mouse) became a courier for the French Resistance fighters, was trained as a British SOE agent, joined and led the French Maquis fighters against the Germans, and became the Gestapo's Most Wanted Person. Nancy parachuted out of planes, lived in the forest with the Maquis troops she was sent to coordinate, slept on pine needles, taught Maquis fighters how to use weapons, rode a bicycle 400 km over mountains and through enemy territory, blew up a bridge, led an attack on the Nazi headquarters (throwing grenades into offices and then running away), and even killed a German soldier with her bare hands, all while maintaining a superb sense of fashion, elegance, practicality, and humor, and managing to not lose her cosmetics bag throughout the entire war. This book is a must listen, and Stephanie Daniel does a superb job narrating this truly amazing story.
Whew! So glad this book was written - great insight into the French resistance & the part the British played in the downfall of the Nazis.
Amazing story. Great narration. Peter Fitzsimons has done a fantastic job of writing a biography of a truly heroic woman. Couldn't stop listening.
Nancy Wake was an amazing woman - a spy in WWII. There was so much detail in this book - historically, emotionally. I really felt there with her - such a strong and very brave woman - a inspiration to us all. Makes you feel grateful for the life you do have.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
I simply can't figure why other reviewers didn't give this book five stars -- times three! It is well written, tells a wonderful story about a most interesting woman, and the narrator is top drawer! I had heard of Nancy Wake but had not had a chance to learn more about her. For sure she was not just another pretty face. We know from the book that -- beauty aside -- she was extremely bright, she could hold liquor better than most men, and she had tremendous physical vitality. Many of us are pretty or want to leave home. Many of us are disciplined, neat, methodical. There was a lot more to Nancy, however. She was brilliant with languages. I studied Spanish but certainly had no smart comments when while standing in the Madrid Metro during the mini-skirt era I endured a young Spaniard putting his cold hands up my legs! Nancy would have come up with some pithy saying. She could tell a Frenchman in his own language "how the cow ate the cabbage"!
I really felt for Nancy when she made her terrible bicycle trip. So tired she could not pedal another turn. And yet she did. Somehow. I also admired her devotion to "her" men. I have some basis for comparison. As a junior officer, I used to give 19-year-old troops their security briefing like a big sister telling them where not to go in town, not to brag, not to blab, etc. etc. I was privy to the incident reports, some of which were sickening and gruesome. They had tested high and were being trained for special jobs. I reminded them of this, that each was valuable! But Nancy took this so far, and not as a big sister or mom, but as their leader! In a time decades before women's lib, she did her job without any sexy business. According to the book, she adored some of the men in particular, but drew a clear line through the murk. I came along three decades after Nancy and found it difficult to do a job without worrying whether I was thought pretty! Amazing lady!
The male author supplies delicious details, and the female narrator enjoys relating them. I want to say, too, that the narrator's French and German sound virtually native to me. I have lived in Germany and studied both languages through my school years. It is painful to hear an otherwise quite good narrator struggle with a foreign language. Certainly not here.
It's a beautiful book, a great listen. I only wish we could be shown the pictures of Nancy with her husbands and comrads. Pictures would complete the story. I have friends who are hard of hearing and don't own a kindle. The print book is nearly impossible to acquire. How about it, Amazon?????
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