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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super new investigation for Noor
I spotted this book early on when released. I read it with great excitement, it was thoroughly researched detailing Noor's life and her talents for Morse and wireless operating and codes are expertly examined. Her character was considered unusual, even unsuitable for an agent - dreamy, spiritual, careless with security, conspiciously beautiful and unable to lie with ease...
Published on 28 Nov 2006 by Ms. Vanessa Wagstaff

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More to her
Noor Inayat Khan was one of a surprising number of agents who knowingly sacrificed their lives in the Second World War for freedom. Once dropped into France, she had only the slightest chance to survive. When writing a biography of these the centerpiece can be the action, the suspense, the adventure. It can also be digging to find what inspired him, or in this case her...
Published on 14 Sep 2009 by Hugh van der Mandele


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super new investigation for Noor, 28 Nov 2006
This review is from: Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan (Hardcover)
I spotted this book early on when released. I read it with great excitement, it was thoroughly researched detailing Noor's life and her talents for Morse and wireless operating and codes are expertly examined. Her character was considered unusual, even unsuitable for an agent - dreamy, spiritual, careless with security, conspiciously beautiful and unable to lie with ease. But her essential qualities were needed - expert radio communications and perfect French, due to her unbringing in France. Her tragic death is also detailed and again the story has had many differing versions in previous publications on Noor's life and SOE in general. I was lucky enough to meet the author where I chatted to her and urged her to sign her books. Signed copies are available at Hatchards books shop, Piccadilly should any fans wish to buy some, one or two might be left. I could also recommend Vera Atkins, A Life in Secrets which also covers Noor and other women agents as well.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A haunting tragedy, 21 Aug 2009
By 
Spilsbury (UK, Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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I grew up reading the Sufi books of Hazrat Inayat Khan from childhood, and these profoundly moving insights into life have guided so much of my ideals since. I was quite shocked when I learned very recently of the very different life his beloved daughter Nur-un-Nissa had tragically cut short.
Hers was an idyllic life with a deeply blissful childhood in Britain. Come World War 2, she opted perhaps incongruently with her upbringing, for service with the Special Ops Executive as a Wireless operator in occupied France. Dubbed the 'Potty Princess' by SOE members, nevertheless she proved outstandingly courageous when finally dropped into France where she lasted a few months typing out vital messages on her wireless. Her death came after Gestapo interrogation and her death was swift on arrival in Dachau where on a shot to the head she was desposed of in the ovens. To read the life changing works of her father is to understand how extraordinarily tragic was the death of this brave young girl, of the noble house of Tipu Sultan. As a War account, this is a well written story of one the thousands of unsung heroes of that terrible period in history revealing the great risks of that courageous organisation the SOE.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book, 12 Mar 2006
This review is from: Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan (Hardcover)
Knowing little about Noor Inayat Khan except the legends, this was an incredibly moving biography of the princess who fought for Britain. I found her story to be extraordinary because she was so different from the hardened war operatives - a gentle musician with Sufi inclinations. It must have been so difficult for her in the field, and she must have been so frightened, but she put up such a brave show when she died - her last words of liberté showed they could not break her spirit. The book does a fine job in dispelling the myths and a compulsive page turner.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Biography, 12 Mar 2006
This review is from: Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan (Hardcover)
Knowing little about Noor Inayat Khan except the legends, this was an incredibly moving biography of the princess who fought for Britain. I found her story to be extraordinary because she was so different from the hardened war operatives - a gentle musician with Sufi inclinations. It must have been so difficult for her in the field, and she must have been so frightened, but she put up such a brave show when she died - her last words of liberté showed they could not break her spirit. The book does a fine job in dispelling the myths and a compulsive page turner.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed..., 16 Feb 2006
This review is from: Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan (Hardcover)
A truly fascinating insight into the life of a forgotten heroine. It was a gripping read; Basu has clearly done a lot of research, taking the reader on a journey from her birthplace in Moscow to her final moments in Dachau. Basu also explores the inner workings of the SOE and the many flaws that took place which lead to the tragic demise of Noor and her colleagues. Noor's story as narrated by Basu is very touching, and her haunting beauty makes the tale all the more poignant. I had been previously been unaware of the Indian contribution to the war effort, and Basu's book brings this to light. I would definitely reccomend this to all readers as it has something for everyone.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly researched, 8 Feb 2007
By 
reader (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan (Hardcover)
This is a beautifully written book that is the perfect blend of thorough research and interesting biography. It is so well researched that I was left with no unresolved questions, and though I found it a harrowing account of a truly brave and wonderful young lady, I felt that this book does her great, and well deserved, honour and justice. It is rare to find such a well written book, highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enigma Wrapped In A Legend, 17 May 2010
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I found this book to be an eminently readable version of the life of perhpas the most appealing of the doomed SOE "secret agents" of the Second World War. The author is or was the London correspondent of a leading Indian newspaper and understands the Indian context well.

The author must be a good journalist. The facts are well-marshalled and I should say that this book gives a far more detailed version of the subject's life than I have seen elsewhere. The subject's background is detailed here: born in the Moscow Kremlin; father a musician but of royal blood in Gujarat; her still-published childrens' stories etc.

The weakness of the book, as another reviewer has noted, is that the author struggles to find or supply any real ideological or personal reason why Noor Inayat Khan (a North Indian royal on her father's side, Irish-American --if I recall aright-- on the mother's) volunteered for this kind of work --or any--. She had a Jewish suitor (despite the best efforts of her family to cold-shoulder him) for the six years up to 1939, when she herself managed to shake him off. Was the anti-Jewish ideology of National Socialism a motive for her volunteering to become what some would call a saboteur and terrorist (her actual role was the very risky one of radio operator)? We are not told. She was very pro Indian independence yet was keen to fight for the British Empire, albeit in France against the German Reich. Why? Probably the author did not know and, professionally, quite properly refused to speculate.

I found a few minor flaws, mostly when the author tried to make general statements, rather than in respect of the subject of the book as such. Also, while the book does detail the negative reports on her suitability to be a secret operative, the author does gloss over the shambolic nature of the French Section of the Special Operations Executive and its bungling head, Buckmaster, who personally over-ruled the subject's training and suitability reports and sent her to her eventual capture and execution .

Overall, a very good read, well-written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read, 28 Aug 2011
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What an amazingly brave woman, and this is such a sad story. Very well researched and really makes the heroic events of SOE come alive.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More to her, 14 Sep 2009
By 
Hugh van der Mandele (Harlingen, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
Noor Inayat Khan was one of a surprising number of agents who knowingly sacrificed their lives in the Second World War for freedom. Once dropped into France, she had only the slightest chance to survive. When writing a biography of these the centerpiece can be the action, the suspense, the adventure. It can also be digging to find what inspired him, or in this case her. On this point the book is very weak. Her background child of a guru, with more than a whiff( sorry for my spelling) of the charlatan (concentrating his efforts on rich lonely women) is described naively romantic; etc.

A good example how such a story should be tackled is the book on the Dutch agent Dutilh (unfortunately never translated).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book., 12 Aug 2014
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This makes for great, but, also sad reading. Miss. Khan is one of the forgotten, when she certainly shouldn't be. This lady's bravery and courage saved, who knows how many lives. She was alone, and at one point, the only operator transmitting from Paris. Wow! Miss. Khan definitely deserves her place in our history, and should always be remembered. A true heroine.
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Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan
Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan by Shrabani Basu (Hardcover - 16 Feb 2006)
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