Spymistress: The True Story of the Greatest Female Secret Agent of World War II

Spymistress The True Story of the Greatest Female Secret Agent of World War II She was beautiful She was ruthless She had a steel trap for a mind and a will of iron Born Vera Maria Rosenberg in Bucharest she became Vera Atkins legendary spy and holder of the Legion of Honor Re

  • Title: Spymistress: The True Story of the Greatest Female Secret Agent of World War II
  • Author: William Stevenson
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 133
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • She was beautiful She was ruthless She had a steel trap for a mind and a will of iron Born Vera Maria Rosenberg in Bucharest, she became Vera Atkins, legendary spy and holder of the Legion of Honor Recruited by William Stevenson the spymaster who would later come to be known as Intrepid when she was only twenty three, Vera spent much of the 1930s running countless pShe was beautiful She was ruthless She had a steel trap for a mind and a will of iron Born Vera Maria Rosenberg in Bucharest, she became Vera Atkins, legendary spy and holder of the Legion of Honor Recruited by William Stevenson the spymaster who would later come to be known as Intrepid when she was only twenty three, Vera spent much of the 1930s running countless perilous espionage missions When war was declared in 1939, her fierce intelligence, blunt manner, personal courage, and knowledge of several languages quickly propelled her to the leadership echelon of the highly secretive Special Operations Executive SOE , a covert intelligence agency formed by, and reporting to, Winston Churchill She recruited and trained several hundred agents, including dozens of women, whose objectives were to penetrate deep behind enemy lines.The stirring exploits and the exemplary courage of the SOE agents and the French Resistance fighters who in the words of General Dwight D Eisenhower together shortened the war by many months are justly celebrated But the central role of Vera Atkins has until now been cloaked in silence William Stevenson was the only person she trusted to record her life he kept his promise that he would not publish her story until after her death Here is the extraordinary account of the woman whose intelligence, beauty, and unflagging dedication proved key in turning the tide of World War II.

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      Published :2018-09-21T18:17:23+00:00

    One thought on “Spymistress: The True Story of the Greatest Female Secret Agent of World War II”

    1. The more that I read about WWII, the more I live with the realization that it's a darn miracle that we're not living in some alternative world. Anti-Semitism was rearing its ugly head and countries didn't want to do anything to help one another. Then after the war, many nations including the United States and Britain didn't want to take in refugees. The number of times that I put this book down and sighed in exasperation probably equals at least a hundred. The persistence of a small group of peo [...]

    2. I tried to read this book and couldn't get past the first chapter. I found the author jumped around erratically depending on the paragraph, and it was hard to understand what he was talking about. I got so frustrated I didn't bother continuing. Vera Atkins may have been a great female secret agent in WWII, but you need a decoder to read her biography

    3. As a historian whose work looks at Anglo-American intell cooperation, I found this book to be melodramatic, problematic from a historical perspective as well failing to do Atkins justice. Atkins is one of the first women to hold a major position in a spy organization. She deserves more than this to do her justice. If you do not know much or anything about the Special Operations Executive and the Secret Intelligence Services, then you will be lost in this book. Just as with several movies done in [...]

    4. This is painful! The bromide about a thousand monkeys locked in a room with a thousand typewriters may be totally in effect here. There is no narrative, there are only real and alleged facts randomly strung together with no discernible connective tissue except, perhaps, vague segmented periods of time. I am to surmise that Ms. Atkins was England's premier super-spy even pre-WWII feeding information to both William Stephenson's internation spy apparatus and ultimately to Winston Churchill himself [...]

    5. This book should have been fascinating. It covers the shadowy Special Operations Executive during World War II and its spymaster, the secretive Vera Atkins, a Jewess born in Romania who became more English than the English.However, I had to slog hard to get to the end. It is so disjointed and cryptic in places that I found myself reading passages again to try to understand them. The author introduces what look like interesting topics (e.g. his own father stuck in a house surrounded by Germans) o [...]

    6. I must admit that I didn't finish this book. I really tried. I was eager to read it. However the writing is so disjointed that it was hard just to make sense of a paragraph. There was no flow at all. Every sentence seemed to have a new idea in it, so it was hard to figure out what was going on with whom when. A real pity because I truely enjoy biographys of daring women.

    7. This book was an eye-opener about the intelligence and counter-intelligence operations during World War II. What really surprised me was the pro-Nazi feelings of British royalty and the anti-semitism within the British government and all governments within the allies. The other surprise was how all the intelligence agencies seemed to be in competition with each other and how agents were betrayed by factions in their own governments. The book was hard to read, because of the number of different i [...]

    8. Reading this book I discovered how 'sanitized' our history books were in high school. Apparently there were many people in high places in Britain that supported the Germans and had no more use for the Jews than Hitler had. Vera Atkins never revealed that she was actually a Romanian Jewess. This is quite a story!

    9. This was very disappointing. After 350 plus pages, the only thing I know about Vera Adkins is: she was attractive, highly intelligent, and worked for the SOE. She had a number of contacts scattered across Europe, the Middle East and India. How she organized and dealt out assignments is still a mystery. I know about Chuck Yeager after he was shot down then the subject of this non-fiction story. I also learned a lot about the following women: Virginia Hall, Krystyna Skarbek. Their exploits and beh [...]

    10. This author has published several books on World War II including the commercially successful “A Man Called Intrepid”, which has been taken to task by several critics for combining fact and fiction. In this one, Stevenson purports to tell the story of Vera Atkins, the woman he says was the greatest female agent during the war. Vera played a dangerous role, recruiting, training and sending secret agents to occupied France. These dedicated men and women risked their lives using guerilla tactic [...]

    11. Warning, only read this book if you have good working background knowledge of WW II and a knowledge of the SOE.Stevenson's book about Vera Atkins is not the best book about Atkins. Check out A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII, which was the first book I read about Atkins and started me on my WW II reading kick.Stevenson jumps around; he jumps around too much and the book is not linear. He also is vague in places and seems not to have anything but a sense of worship for [...]

    12. This is fascinating, but unfortunately the author (William Stevenson) seems to be writing in code. It may be a code understood by a history buff, but I'm not convinced that this is the case. He does make the point that Vera Atkins was an amazing, brave and potentially brutal spymistress. He also gives telling details of the political and personal challenges she faced, not the least of which was the lack of support at Whitehall for saving Jews in Eastern Europe, and the dubious motives of people [...]

    13. I can generally push through when a book is slow or complicated, but I could not get past the first 50 pages of this book. It is so disconnected and all over the place that it is hard to keep track of what is going on. Jumping locations and time periods is the worst part In the beginning. I love history books about WWII and was really looking forward to this. It is a shame it turned out to be a disappointment.

    14. The drama and intensity of this true story is lost due to the very dry and fact based writing style. I am learning a lot about individual, but am having a hard time stringing that together into a bigger picture story. If I didn't already have an understanding of the time period then I'd be completely lost. I recomend only if you love facts and are familiar with the time. Hopefully there will soon be a more engaging biography of Vera Atkins written soon.

    15. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood; regardless, I gave up on this historical biography. I am all about reading about the Holocaust, but this book was a bit too boring for my usual Holocaust fix. I can say that it is probably a good read for those who like historical biographies, though.

    16. Absolutely Stunning!I found this book in a thrift s hop for 50 cents. I didn't have time to read it so I gave it to my uncle, who is a 26 year U,S. Marine veteran with lots of recon experience. He liked it so well that he read it twice. He said it was one of the most personal discipussions of espionage that he ever read. Finally, I has time to read it for myself and was shocked. I have read extensively about World War 2, but there are so many things revealed in this book that I had never read be [...]

    17. Sorry, but I didn't finish reading this book. I should've taken heed from warnings by previous reviewers who advised that the author's technique was very discursive, to put it politely. I felt buried under way too much info. Paragraphs held three times as much information as they should have, making it difficult to determine their topic. This book is a gold mine for its bibliography, but I found it a nightmare to read. The author tried to put way too much into every paragraph. It was as though [...]

    18. Uneven and chaotic The subtitle of Spymistress is "the true story of the greatest female secret agent ". While it claims to be about her, it could just as easily been titled "The emergence of spycraft during WWII" or "Chaos in the homeland and its impact on espionage" or probably a dozen other titles. This is not a biography other than it describes how a woman with skills (it's not clear how she developed them) used them to manage spies during the war. There's no sense of what made her who she w [...]

    19. This book is an unreadable mess. Don’t waste your time. There were a few interesting tidbits, but it’s not worth the time or the frustration of trying to negotiate the author’s shocking lack of narrative ability. Good grief. This book reads as though the author threw in every detail - fact or rumour - he ever came across, just for the sake of including it. This style has the unsettling effect on the reader of constantly feeling as though you’re about to get the story around that detail, [...]

    20. At 25, Vera Atkins became the spymistress of Great Britain. Her role in uncovering information against the Axis powers helped the Allies win the war; though her role wasn't revealed until many years later. This book seems to have been heavily researched. You can tell because it is so thickly littered with names that it is had to keep everyone straight. I've read a number of books on World War II and still had issues trying to understand just who was who. People are plunked down in the middle of [...]

    21. The prologue begins with Stevenson describing Atkins in incredibly sexualized terms (her breasts, her silk stockings, etc.) and, while it's not precisely all downhill from there, it's flat going at best. There's very little context given, and Vera runs about doing things of Great Import although how or why she's doing them is less clear. The sourcing on absolutely everything seemed to be nonexistent and the writing was so blithely confident that I found myself not trusting a word I was reading. [...]

    22. Another easy read - not for the subject matter, but for the quality of writing and research. Reading about the efforts of the WW2 spy rings and the lengths they went to to further the cause of the Allies was a definite eye-opener. So many good people trying to save lives and end yet another horrific event in our human history. Many of the people involved had to not only protect themselves from doublecrosses, they also had to guard against those in government who bought into the Nazi culture. Ver [...]

    23. Deeply researched and carefully written to expose at last the monumental task faced by one of history's greatest spymasters.Working with nearly no resources except daring and talented young patriots from several countries, Vera built a network of spies while combating the subversive effects of bureaucratic distrust and jealousy, outright counter-espionage, and prejudice because she was a woman. Ever silent about her services, she was on!y herein revealed as a Jewish heroine of the Second world w [...]

    24. I enjoyed the book, learned and was reminded of so much in the process. Spymistress, Vera Atkins, Vera Maria Rosenberg, should not remain unknown. I've read the Intrepid books, years ago, fascinated and attracted by history and, myself, being from Winnipeg, Canada ( birthplace of 'The Man Called Intrepid').Deeply moving account of this amazing, passionate, warrior who was instrumental in freeing the world from the Nazis.

    25. I love spies stories and I'm always draw by bios of interesting women. So when you put together those two topics, you just got me. Plus, I tend to like W. Stevenson's books. But this one, despite everything, was a bit slow. Maybe because it's a lot of data in every single page, sometimes putting Vera Atkins life aside. I still enjoyed it and learnt a lot, but -maybe because I had such high expectations- I didn't like it as I thought I'd like.

    26. This is a bit of a cheat. I didn't finish the book, I gave up. Too many little details bothered me, so I looked at a couple of professional reviews, and they mention serious issues with the book. It seemed too much like she was the center of many events, and there were things like Ian Fleming being touted as an important figure beyond what he deserved. I was listening to the audiobook, and apparently the footnotes and citations are wholly inadequate for the claims made.

    27. Review hidden because think of the children. Normally I'm too lazy to write much of a review of books I read but I'll make an exception because I'm irritated. The book is badly written but what is most frustrating is the author's very unfortunate schoolboy crush on Vera Atkins. I do not want to read a prologue mentioning the subject's boobs and the author's awareness thereof. It is possible to write about someone as sexual person without giving the reader the impression writing was done via repe [...]

    28. Really GoodI learned things not taught in my school history books.It is frightening to see how close in attitude the previous administration was to the Hitler appeasersWith the old guard revealing names of agents already at risk and undermining the people who gave so much to fight the evil of Hitler and his cronies.Thank you brave souls.

    29. For a biography that should have been riveting, good GOD was it impossible to read. It is dry at best and completely without substance at worst. It appears as if the author wanted to cram as much information into each sentence as possible-including everything completely irrelevant. I'm honestly just disappointed that such an interesting topic was butchered like this.

    30. Interesting historical work about WWII spies and resistance The story is intriguing and important to know as it is part of world history and an important part of how the West saved the world from the Nazis. The reason I only rated it a 3 is based on the sometimes confusing and tangled way the story is written. Based on the subject I suppose that is to be expected.

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