Agent Most Wanted: The Never-Before-Told Story of the Most Dangerous Spy of World War II

Viking. Aug. 2022. 208p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593350546.
Gr 5-7–Purnell adapts her bestselling A Woman of No Importance for a younger crowd in this gripping nonfiction work that reads like a spy thriller. Virginia Hall was known throughout her life by many names. She was Dindy to her family, Marie Monin to the French Resistance, and (because of her prosthetic leg) the “Limping Lady of Lyon” to Hitler’s Gestapo and Abwehr secret police forces, but for many years, she was no one to most of the world, the true weight of her role in World War II unknown. Strong-willed Dindy’s family was not surprised that she was unwilling to settle for a life as a housewife. After running off to France to escape a fiancé, Virginia came back to the States, went to college, and set her sights on a career as a diplomat. Though she never rose above a secretarial position in the deeply sexist state department, she worked in Europe as Hitler rose to power. Refusing to sit idly by, Virginia joined the fight, first as a volunteer ambulance driver in France and then, through some chance encounters, as the only U.S. citizen on the British spy force. The Brits trained her in spycraft and guerrilla war tactics, her primary objective being to recruit, train, arm, and maintain a French resistance behind enemy lines. The account of her many exploits is wonderfully written and made even more phenomenal by her determination. Readers will walk away inspired.
VERDICT A first purchase where WWII history and riveting tales of adventure are popular.

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