15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars
Read other SOE books, 30 Dec. 2008
I have read a lot SOE material and this seemed very smug and almost pretentious. I agree that the information about the agents suffering gripping and well researched (but there is nothing there that hasn't already been said by Jean Overton Fuller etc.) The material itself about the main protagonist seems bitter and harsh. The author is judging from a time that no longer produces women like Vera Atkins. During war time we needed straight forward thinking women like Vera - who could be cold and pragmatic about life and death situations. With all the hardships around them women had to be harder and more forthright. Buckmaster and F section could not have coped without Vera and her tenacity and Sarah Helm does not make this clear enough. Instead she seems keen to point out Vera's coldness and even questions her sexuality as if this was important when sending people off to fight for their lives.
In all - I was very disappointed - I expected a rounder fuller picture of the woman who the Gestapo said "scared them more than any other man" when she interviewed them after the atrocities - (and the mere fact that Vera took it upon herself to do this and find out what happened to her colleagues at a time when no one was interested and wanted to brush the horrific atrocities under the carpet is never applauded is a travesty)