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D-Day Girls

The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II

by Sarah Rose

D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose X
D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose
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There are currently 43 member reviews
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  • Janice P. (South Woodstock, VT)
    Worth the Effort
    Sarah Rose puts her purpose boldly in her subtitle. Her well-researched profiles of six of the 30 female operatives the British Special Operations Executive sent to Occupied and Vichy France, as Resistance organizers, suppliers, saboteurs, makes a strong case for the significant role of the Resistance before and after D-Day, and especially for the significance of women as operatives—largely downplayed then ("girls" is how they were referred to), and for decades since.

    That's a lot of ground to cover, in a history clearly written for a general audience, particularly women (like me) with only a sketchy understanding of WW2 military chronology. Rose supplies this essential context, weaving it into her efforts to trace each protagonist's background, her hiring (SOE's desperate experiment, due to the shortage of men), training and progress through the war. But the weaving is far from seamless: She attempts to tell the women's personal stories as though they were fiction— while sticking only to those (sketchy) details that she can document in painstaking chapter notes. That approach doesn't really bring the characters to life as individuals, and it interferes with the narrative flow and the reader's effort to piece together the larger picture.

    Still, the events are gripping, especially as we learn each woman's fate (including torture, execution, indifferent "gratitude" for those who survived, only to battle for military recognition). I learned a lot from this book, and I believe we are all enriched by knowing that the Greatest Generation was more than a "band of brothers"— their sisters were every bit as selfless and courageous.
  • Florence H. (Laguna Woods, CA)
    D-Day Girls
    As the participants in WWII are aging and dying,it is imperative that their narratives are told. This book is a well researched account of a part of that war that I knew little about, the recruitment of female spies who spoke fluent French. Since this an overview of five years of the history of espionage in France there was little in depth character development . However I was astonished and appreciative of the recounting of the deeds of these brave women (and men) that helped D-Day be a success.
  • Patricia S. (Chicago, IL)
    D-Day Girls
    D-Day Girls is an intriguing narrative of several women of the SOE (Special Operations Executive) who were sent to France ahead of D-Day (originally scheduled for 1943) to disrupt the Nazis in France. Somewhat sketchily trained, they were to link up with the French Resistance and use any means to sabotage the Nazis—bombings, disrupt communications, and gather and transmit intelligence on German movements. Their story is fascinating, and several of the women's lives in the SOE are described in detail. It is clear that there were more women working in France than included in the book (the number 50 occurs frequently) and so this is a partial history, with references to other women and a good bibliography for further reading. Although I enjoyed the book, I was left wondering who the target audience was. I wanted more details of their training before they left England, more information about how they established themselves in France and worked with the Resistance, and how they were able to accomplish their incredible missions. In some ways, the lack of detail seemed a way to keep the book shorter, which made me think it was written for the YA audience, although it doesn't seem to have been marketed that way. Overall, I would recommend this to anyone interested in how the SOE operated in France.
  • Patricia T. (Fallbrook, CA)
    D-Day Girls, by Sarah Rose
    No matter how much reading you have done over the years on WW2, there is always something new turning up. D-Day Girls is an account of three women active in the French resistance; their recruitment and training, their experiences ranging from romantic to brutal, and the recognition, or lack of, their immeasurable contribution to eventual victory. It is non-fiction but reads like a novel, not always a plus, because in the area of the participants' feelings and emotions, there is a lot that has to be attributed to the author's imagination. The prose style tilted from edgy into snark a few times. That said, it was meticulously researched, and the historical facts in this book cannot be questioned. It is a page turner, I would recommend it to all students of those war years. You will read it in just a few sessions, and end up in awe of these three women.
  • Shirley T. (Comfort, TX)
    D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose
    This is a very well researched account of some of the brave women who worked for the Resistance in German occupied France during World War II.

    The author has concentrated mainly on the activities of three of these women – Andree, Lise and Odette but also includes the courageous exploits of many others. The author has a good grasp of the political history of Europe leading up to WWII and also of the postwar Gaullist policies and politics.

    The book reads almost like a novel but is truly a work of history. Some editing is required to improve the flow of the story.
  • Barbara O. (Red Bank, NJ)
    Extraordinary times call for extraordinary courage, these Women answered that Call
    Sarah Rose reveals the back story of the D-Day Girls and the secret organization they worked for, the SOE. The extraordinary decision (for the time) to recruit women to act as spies and saboteurs, to send them behind enemy lines was born out of necessity and a terrible truth, there weren't enough men available to recruit and England was the lone country standing in Hitler's path.
    The stories of these women (and men) are reminders of the courage, ingenuity and love of country that drove these people to volunteer despite the danger and poor odds they faced.
    These names should be revered and acknowledged for we owe them a great debt. Kudos to author, Sarah Rose for giving us a well researched, well written book that deserves to be read and discussed. Loved it.
  • Becky H. (Chicago, IL)
    This is "real history"
    I had to keep reminding myself that this was "real non-fiction" and keep reading. Unfortunately I had just read a fictionalized account of the resistance in France that covered many of the same women/events in this book.
    D-DAY GIRLS is well researched and well written. It does jump from person to person and event to event with only a new chapter title to give warning. I found this disconcerting and jarring. The notes are wonderful and enlightening.
    Odette, whose exploits begin in the early days of the "Firm" and continue to end of the war, was a fascinating woman. The angst of the old guard in deploying women to danger and possible death is a continuing story even today.
    History buffs will love this book. The minutia, letters and intimate details will carry them through. A person wishing a lighter tale or more "plot" should find another book covering the same era.
    4 of 5 stars

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