The Wolves at the Door does more than chronicle Hall’s extraordinary career. Pearson gives vivid detail about Hall driving a crude ambulance loaded with wounded while under fire; how she twice escaped the continent; how she got through SOE training with her artificial leg (which she called Cuthbert); the agent problems she dealt with, including the discovery of a Gestapo double-agent; her disguises and her cover work as a milkmaid and farmer’s helper; and how she arranged the escape of several of her agents from a Gestapo prison. We also see something of this remarkable woman’s managerial abilities when Pearson tells how she overcame the reluctance of the French resistance to follow orders from a woman. After the war, Hall’s achievements were to be publicly recognized with the presentation of the Distinguished Service Cross by President Harry Truman. She declined the honor, however, preferring to receive the award without publicity from OSS chief Gen. William Donovan, and thus preserve her cover for clandestine work in the postwar era.
Jun 15, 2006
She parachuted behind enemy lines with her wooden leg in a knapsack
Virginia Hall, our greatest female spy. Via Arts & Letters Daily, a review of Judith L. Pearson's biography of Hall.