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Christine: SOE Agent and Churchill's Favourite Spy: A Search for Christine Granville [Paperback]

Madeleine Masson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Oct 2005
Christine Granville, G.M., O.B.E. and Croix de Guerre, one of the most successful women agents of the Second World War and said to have been Churchill's 'favourite spy', was murdered, aged 37, in a London Hotel in 1952. Her actions as a British secret agent in Poland, Hungary and France were legendary even in her lifetime and she repeatedly risked her life to undertake dangerous missions. Her exploits began after the fall of Poland when she became a British agent; organising the escape of British prisoners-of-war, Polish pilots and refugees and returning to Poland, her homeland, to set up escape routes and report on German troop movements. Her capture by the Gestapo led to a dramatic escape from Budapest in the boot of a car followed by travels through Turkey and Syria to Cairo. Christine is an inspiring and unforgettable true story.

Frequently Bought Together

Christine: SOE Agent and Churchill's Favourite Spy: A Search for Christine Granville + The Heroines of SOE: F Section: Britain's Secret Women in France + A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE
Price For All Three: 22.77

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (6 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844082385
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844082384
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Gripping. (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

An exciting story. . . Christine was cool, fascinating, graceful, secretive, alternating a vivid warmth with remoteness, a lover of freedom and a law unto herself (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

This biography, stark, earthy, uplifting and bloodstained, deserves to be read even by those who are tired of war books. In Christine, Dostoyevsky, I suspect, would have found a heroine to his taste (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Book Description

The remarkable life story of Christine Granville - Churchill's 'favourite spy' and one of the most successful women agents of the Second World War

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars more than an enigma 11 Aug 2010
Christine was truly a courageous person and her life story is fascinating. It has excellent filmic possibilities.
HOWEVER, there are many errors and mistatements of facts in the book which Virago, and the original 1975
publisher, did not correct. 1. There is absolutely no evidence that Churchill ever said, 'she's my favourite
spy.' The news that was brought to Churchill, i. e. that the Germans were preparing to invade the USSR,
was in fact discovered by a Polish underground unit known as The Musketeers. Christine was their liaison
outside Poland. The news was delivered to her and to the British naval attache in Sofia. It was he who sent
the news to Churchill, not Christine. SOE files at the National Archive, and the Musketeer files in Poland,
give a true account of what actually happened.
2. The author never visited Poland, did no research in Polish files (I knew Mrs. Masson), and could not
research SOE files at the National Archive because they were still closed to the public in 1975, when this
story was originally published. 3. There is no evidence that Christine threatened to explode a grenade, or
grenades, when challenged by a German - or Italian - border guard There are no documents or eyewitnesses
to this account. The story was told to Mrs. Masson long after the war, by Christine's grieving lover, Andrew
Kennedy, who is responsible for much of the detail in the book. 4. I interviewed the family of Christine's
1st husband. His name is incorrect in both the original book and in this Virago reprint. To my knowledge,
I'm the only one who has so far interviewed the Getlich family. 5. Christine did NOT win the Miss Polonia
contest. The files of the Polish newspaper that sponsored the contest are available in Warsaw.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Both Types of Stiletto 7 Sep 2010
This is a well-written but almost eulogistic biography of "Christine", aka Christine Granville, aka Krystina Skarbeck, who was an active SOE secret agent and assassin during WW2.

The book had a slightly unusual genesis, in that the authoress met her subject over a quarter-century before the book first came out in 1975. In 1952, the authoress was travelling as a passenger from Cape Town to London. Her stewardess was her later subject. Not long after the ship docked, the stewardess was murdered by what would today be called a stalker, stabbed once in the heart. The killer was hanged.

The end of her life was in an aesthetic sense a fitting denouement. This half-Polish half-Jewish woman was an adventuress of the first order and lived a life packed with intrigue, espionage and murder. It is not surprising that with her background, she had at least two reasons to be strongly active against the Reich.
It seems that she became a kind of British agent about a year before WW2, perhaps in 1938.

One flaw in the book (despite this edition coming out in 2005 with some additions) is that it ignores the less favourable facts about the lady in relation to both her life and work. For example, I did not see here her claim (I think late 1939), contained in at least one other book about her life, that a Bavarian regiment of the Wehrmacht had mutinied and were being massacred (in Poland) by the SS. A complete fabrication, but presented by Christine to her British spymasters as fact. Again, she claimed, later in the war, that in one particular region of France hundreds of people were being abducted and murdered by the Gestapo/SS/Milice et al, all in one or two towns! Another out and out lie, yet sent to London as fact by her.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super story 22 Sep 2009
A superb agent, much under rated and recognised, but the most successful. She talked her comrades out of a gestapo jail and fooled gestapo officers many a time. An astounding life. What a shame that such an exceptional woman was murdered by a mere mortal in peace time.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Christine 2 Sep 2007
The story of Christine Granville is pure adventure from start to finish. The pages take you from her birth, and adventurous upbringing including terrible pranks played on her teachers, through the war years all over Europe, Africa etc to after the war and finally her murder. If you want to be there with Christine this book gives you it. If you want the understanding what it was like to be a undercover spy and SOE agent then this book gives you it. Theres romance, betrayal, laughter, and tears. This books should be on the corriculum for every women to read. I like this book so much I contacted the publisher. I cant recommend it more. Madeleine Masson did Christine Granville proud as if she was the women herself. You will never regret reading this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Churchill's Favourite Woman Spy 7 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a very interesting story of a woman spy during the war and the risks she took. Sadly, her life became very difficult after the war as for many ex-service.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable 22 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazing story of a brave woman whose work all over Europe helped us win the war, but what a sad end. .
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5.0 out of 5 stars book 6 Oct 2013
By Janie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
arrived and was as specified. can't say anything else as its a present I do not wish to say anything further
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is excellent! So many people did so many wonderful things during WWII and it is important to remember their spirit and courage.
Published 15 months ago by Adele McGee
5.0 out of 5 stars Readers delight
A very interesting and inspiring book making one realise how brave souls were during the war years. Brought back memories and not a book to put down once started.
Published 18 months ago by Mummy bear
5.0 out of 5 stars Christine SOE agent And Chburvhills Favourite spy
the book" christine soe agrnt and churchills favourite spy"
was great value and a good read. the service was very good.
Published 19 months ago by Terry Regan
5.0 out of 5 stars Christine; SOE Agent
I treated myself to this book to take into hospital where I underwent spinal sugery and was confined for 5 days - it really was a life-saver and certainly took my mind off the... Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2011 by Sky
5.0 out of 5 stars True Herorism
A remarkable story of a truly remarkable woman.

The author writes engagingly and with authority. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2010 by Ned Malet de Carteret
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read
This was a brilliant read. The detail was great. She really did Christine Granville's fascinating life justice
Published on 27 May 2010 by L. Shearing
5.0 out of 5 stars Good insight
The author has really done a good job with this book and portraying the many faces of Christine. Interesting person, interesting life and mysterious death. Read more
Published on 4 Sep 2009 by Chocoholic
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