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Christine: SOE agent and Churchill's…
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Christine: SOE agent and Churchill's favourite spy (1975)

by Madeleine Masson

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Originally published in 1975 and reprinted by Virago in 2005 this book was recommended to me as I was interested in reading books related to women and war. A great deal of research has been undertaken with many helpful notes, references, photographs and bibliography for those who wish to follow up any aspects touched upon by Madeleine Masson. The story is set in many of the diverse settings that Christine Granville found herself during the second world war ranging from Poland, via Africa to the Vercors region of France ranging in time from her years in school to the war years. Romance, adventure, tears and betrayal are all ingredients of her story as an undercover agent and as a member of the SOE. Although I was familiar with a number of the French settings I would have valued the support of maps.

My view is that the author had a great deal of knowledge regarding not only the agent Christine but also the historical themes of the period. At times I found that some of the diversions away from the central character deflected from the continuity of the narrative and interrupted the central theme of Christine’s work in espionage and her fascinating life story.

In conclusion this book was informative and provided a great deal of knowledge. As a biography of a single individual I learnt a lot about this fascinating and courageous lady. ( )
  juliette07 | Jan 10, 2009 |
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Epigraph
Poland, poor land, singingand weeping, my heart belongs with you.
Frederic Chopin. History is an argument without an end Peter Geyl. There are only two aspects of war (or any other event) worth writing about: the war as it actually is before your eyes, and th eactions ans mental behaviour of the men controlling it. Alan Moorhead - A LAte Education
Dedication
For my family
First words
In the last days of December 1899, the handsome, extravagant and impoverished Count Jerzy Skarbek, a member of one of Poland's ancient and aristocratic families, married the daughter of a prominent Polish Jewish banker.
As the Winchester Castle steamed away from Capetown I had a presentiment that it would be a long time before I returned home. Yet the reason for my journey was a happy one.
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I can only hope that it will be read as much as understanding as it has been written.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Little tidbit which I do not think is mentioned in the book - Granville served as the inspiration for Vesper in Ian Fleming's first Bond book Casino Royale. He was quite sweet on her at one time.
This is a biography of a fascinating woman. Christine is the story of an extraordinarily brave woman who was prepared to die for freedom. She was one of the most successful women agents of the Second World War and was said to have been Churchill's favourite spy. As an agent of SOE she was the first woman to be dropped in France from Algiers, landed in the Vercors in 1944 where as 'Pauline Armand' she performed with tremendous valour.
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'Christine' is the life story of Christine Granville - Churchill's 'favourite spy' and one of the most successful women agents of World War II. Originally published: as Christine, a search for Christine Granville, GM, OBE, Croix de Guerre. Lond.

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