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Flames in the Field [Kindle Edition]

Rita Kramer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The true story of four brave women secretly sent into the darkness of Nazi-occupied France to carry out Winston Churchill's plan to "set Europe ablaze." Caught in a web of deception surrounding the preparations for the D-Day invasion, their mission ended in betrayal and sacrifice. An engrossing history based on first-hand interviews with agents of the Special Operations Executive and revelations about the secret organization and the courageous women who served it.
There was the French working-class courier who helped downed pilots and escaped POWs on their way to freedom; the fashionable parisienne who returned thinking she could outwit the Gestapo; the upper-crust English member of the Auxiliary Transport Service who volunteered to join SOE because she loved France; and the Romanian Jewish refugee who told her mother, "If we don't help ourselves, no one will help us" and fell in love with the leader of her resistance group.
Each of them, the men they worked with under cover of darkness, and the enigmatic woman who saw them off into the unknown, was a remarkable character, their stories told here in vivid detail for the first time.

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Product Description

About the Author

Rita Kramer's previous books include Maria Montessori: A Biography, At Tender Age, Ed School Follies, and When Morning Comes. Her articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, American Heritage, Commentary, The American Spectator, the Wilson Quarterly, City Journal and other magazines and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in New York City.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2188 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1453834273
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (21 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006C6NOOK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,228 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched 4 Jan. 2009
Rita Kramer writes like a journalist and has researched thoroughly the 4 women who were murdered at Natzweiler concerntration camp. She delves deeply into the four women's lives before - after and during the war that ended so tragically for them. She details their betrayal and elaborates further on the duplicity of Henri Dericourt and SIS.
It is an interesting read - thoroughly researched.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never to be forgotten 1 May 2009
A harrowing book about 4 SOE girls (for that is what they were, young 20 somethings), who gave their lives for a better future for us all.

We should never forget them, nor the atrocities inflicted on them by Nazism. This book, like the one by Sarah Helm about Vera Atkins of SOE, is at times hard to bear, such are the upsetting descriptions about their treatment. Sleep at times does not come easily after reading these passages.

I feel privileged to have known them through this book.

Paul White
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flames in the field 25 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Passionate and engrossing, this book was well researched and asks some very pertinent questions about the work of the SOE.Some detail is lacking due to the secretive nature of the subject matter, but Rita Kramer has done much to ensure that the legacy of the four female agents depicted in the book lives on. Haunting in places, this book will undoubtedly make the reader acutely aware of the bravery,and occasional foolishness of the operatives sent to deal a blow to Nazism in occupied France.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 16 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I picked this up after reading The Spy Princess about the life of Noor Inayat Khan and wanting to know more. This book concentrates on the 4 women who were executed at Natsweiler concentration camp but also touches on other agents in the field. I thought it presented an excellent overview of SOE, the agents in the field, the double agents and balances it against the overall strategy of the war. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking tales of missing secret agents 15 Feb. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While this has lots of fascinating information about SOE Operations in France in WW2 it needs a better editor. The nature of the story, primarily of the secret operations in German occupied France in 1943 and the SD penetration of the SOE network, is one of many parallel threads and the uncovering of a mystery. So this makes it hard to just write a linear narrative, and the author has done a pretty good job of writing very readable prose that clearly explains what is going on. However there are a few places where the ordering of the material goes backwards within a few paragraphs and crucial pieces of information are given out of order.

The book shows an awful lot of research was done by the author, over a period of what seems to be years, and building on the work done by a number of predecessors. There is an academic level of referencing and footnotes. There are several distinct parts to the book. The first is a narrative on four women SOE agents killed by the nazis at Natzweiler, which then widens to encompass the others that were arrested around the same time and that shared their captivity in Fresnes and then Karlsruhe. Each of these women is identified and has their life story before joining SOE told. Where it is known this then leads up to how they were captured.

Another piece of the narrative are the attempts by others (initally Vera Atkins in 1945-6 and then Jean Overton Fuller) to find out what happened to the women after they were arrested. This then leads nicely into attempts to work out whether or not the women were betrayed, and if so by whom. There has been a lot of controversy about this, and many of the participants in the events have competing theories.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, very moving and fascinating 17 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a well written and well presented account of the SOE and the brave people who were part of the resistance movement. It also shows the good and bad along with the mishandling and cover-up in a very even handed way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 23 Nov. 2012
This story of four agents is quite fascinating. At times their efforts seem inadequately planned and poorly conducted, but overall it is a story of remakable adaptability by these women and almost unbelievable bravery. Obcviously it has a series of sad endings, but it is a fascinating story. Ultimately like many stories from that period it exposes almost inhuman cruelty defeated by quiet bravery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I read this book following a recommendation by a friend. I have an interest in the contribution women made in the two wars and it does not disappoint. I had some initial misgivings, as it looked like it may be suggesting a greater morale outrage about British women being killed in a concentration camp, than that attributed to the Jewish holocaust. However the enormity of the warped rationale fuelling Nazi ethnic cleansing was poignantly explored. The international politics driving Anglo French and Anglo Russian collaboration was well argued which gave another dimension to this historical account. I would recommend it for the human interest account of ordinary women displaying immense courage and an eating insight into the less palatable aspects of espionage and warfare.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by John G rigas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The writer did a great deal of research before writing this book and it has been quite thought-provoking.
Published 6 months ago by Rhoda
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and not dwelling on the horrific detail that ...
Well written and not dwelling on the horrific detail that went on in the prisons and camps. Having said that the book leaves the reader in no doubt what did go on. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Corinne Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent. Never cease to hold these people in admiration very very good account
Published 7 months ago by Sheila Fitzgerald-Torres Sheila F.Torres
5.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to ordinary men & women
Among the oft told stories of wartime muddle, political scheming and armchair warriors this book highlights the bravery of ordinary men & women who helped others in the early dark... Read more
Published 8 months ago by John G.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Jest could not put it down.
Published 11 months ago by MR J E McGANN
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Received in good condition. Fascinating if sad & disturbing book.
Published 11 months ago by MRS DAGMAR JOHNSON
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the book but it wasnt what I expected so ...
I liked the book but it wasnt what I expected so a bit disappointing in that way. I expected to read and learn more about the four women.
Published 11 months ago by B S Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Did you know.
I hadn't realised the extent of the battle between SOE and MI6, nor had I read about the depth of use of SOE's radios by the Germans and the possible reasons for the length of time... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. E. B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
I've only read a few chapters, but, already I'm really enjoying the book. The author hasn't rambled on, like some do, to get the page count up. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Munch
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