The daring missions and cloak-and-dagger skullduggery of America's
World War II intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services
(OSS), are well documented and have become the stuff of legend. Yet
the contributions of the four thousand women who made up one-fifth
of the OSS staff have gone largely unheralded. Here for the first
time are their fascinating stories, told by one of their own.
A seasoned journalist and veteran of sensitive OSS and CIA
operations, Elizabeth McIntosh draws on her own experiences and
in-depth interviews with more than one hundred OSS women to uncover
some of the most tantalizing stories and best-kept secrets of the
war in Europe and Asia. Serving all over the world side-by-side
with men, this amazing contingent of women was recruited from a
wide variety of professional disciplines and from the highest
social and political circles of Europe and the United States.
Captured in rich detail, sometimes in the participants' own words,
are the riveting tales of clandestine spies, saboteurs,
cryptographers, cartographers, analysts, and experts in propaganda,
recruiting, and communications, as well as the less visible but no
less important clerks, drivers, and secretaries.
With an eye for detail and a dramatic flourish worthy of the
best spy fiction, Mcintosh weaves intimate portraits of the dozens
of remarkable women into the storied development and operations of
the OSS. Along with the famous names like Julia Child and Marlene
Dietrich, readers discover such intrepid agents as Amy "Cynthia"
Thorpe, who seduced a Vichy official and stole the French naval
codes; Virginia Hall, who despite a wooden leg twice entered France
to organize the Maquis resistance andrun an underground railroad
for downed fliers; and others who recruited double agents,
pioneered propaganda and subversion techniques, and tracked the
famous Nazi commando Otto Skorzeny.
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