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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Violette Szabo - a welcome new biography
Having been brought up on a diet of "Victory at Sea", "The World at War" and no end of stories and documentaries about it, I grew up in the 1960s and 1970 thinking that the war had rather been rammed down my throat. However, when I read "Carve her name with Pride", the story of Violette affected me like no other. I could barely think about it without a lump in my throat...
Published on 1 Nov 2003 by P. W. H. Smith

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I was wishing for more
I first heard about Violette Szabo when I read the book "A Life in Secrets" A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOEand I wanted to read more about her. When I came across "Violette Szabo: The Life that I had" by Susan Ottaway I was intrested. After reading the book, I was left longing to know more about her. The book is thin on details and while the...
Published 23 months ago by M. E. Newell


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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Violette Szabo - a welcome new biography, 1 Nov 2003
By 
P. W. H. Smith "pwhs" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Having been brought up on a diet of "Victory at Sea", "The World at War" and no end of stories and documentaries about it, I grew up in the 1960s and 1970 thinking that the war had rather been rammed down my throat. However, when I read "Carve her name with Pride", the story of Violette affected me like no other. I could barely think about it without a lump in my throat for a long while afterwards and for me this was *the* story about WWII.
Susan Ottoway's welcome new biography attempts to provide us new insights into this very courageous woman, it also dispels a few myths that have grown up. Though I was pleased to see that one of the most surprising tributes to her courage really happened.
During her fateful second mission, she and a male companion were stopped by an SS Panzer division roadblock. A gunfight ensued and for 20 minutues Violette held off hardened Panzer division troops until exhaustion and a lack of ammunition forced her capture, her male companion was given the opportunity to escape. After her capture, the German officer in charge saluted her and called her the bravest woman he had ever seen.
The latter part of the book does not make easy reading and Susan Ottoway's book left me with the suspicion that Violette set out on that second mission knowing or even certain that she would not be returning.
Well worth reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An up-to-date account that puts the record straight, 14 Feb 2010
By 
PAUL MCCUE (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have (Paperback)
I enjoyed and recommend this book. Well-written and well-researched, it draws on Szabo's file in the National Archives to put right the inaccuracies of the much-earlier book and film, "Carve Her Name With Pride".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The life that i have, 19 July 2009
This review is from: Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have (Paperback)
A glorious book of a hauntingly beautiful young mother and her too short life in a very brutal period of history. Violette, a slip of a cockney girl was already a mother of a daughter and widow of an officer killed fighting the Nazi's decides with steely determination to somehow "do her bit" for the war, she undergoes exhaustive SOE training, physical and mental needed to be an agent in occupied europe. she comes out of her training as an ace-shot, and very competant coder as well as an excellent native french speaker, her "poem-code" was given to her by an SOE officer who saw her as a figure of sadness yet boundless enthusiasm for life, she has two trips to france--including perious shopping trips to paris! until april 1944 she is dropped into central france, Here she faces her nemesis...the Das Reich regiment.
After june 1944 in response to D-Day, the Das Reich moved from South western france toward normandy, ordinarily this would involve using the railroads, but the resistance sabotaged the rolling stock and route northward. The regiments move northward makes for other reading, but Violette and her agent partner driving thru the countryside near limoges soon come across out-pickets of the Das Reich and a valiant shoot out ensures between violette and SS soldiers as her partner attempts to escape (which he does) soon she is trapped in the center of a field and soon out of ammo--the whole adventure lasting no more than 10 minutes, the Germans soon capture her and briefly interrogate her and using grudinging admiration for her take her to the local prison in limoges where she is soon sucked into the Gestapo system, the admiration soon evaporates as she is sent to fresnes prison and finally shipped to ravensbruck--a dramatic journey involving her train being strafed by allied aircraft. Violette along with other agents were executed in ravensbruck shortly before the wars end. the book illustrates the extremely perilous short life of an SOE agent, the loving mother of a daughter she never saw grow up, and a time when the liberation of europe was close at hand, but still fraught with danger with very irritable Germans milling about France. Recommended reading :)
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light account, 31 Aug 2002
Ottaway gives a fresh light account of the brave heroine Violette Szabo. I was greatly impressed by the awe in which ottaway holds the heroine, and this feeling makes the biography an easy read. It is also a nice touch that there is now a friendship between the author and Tanya the daughter. There is no bitterness here, the book was written with warm kinship that it is hard not to feel pride and sadness for Violette. For more deepend exploits I recommend "A quiet courage" by Liane Jones which examines less famous female SOE missions, and manages to shock. Ottaway does not manage this, but nonetheless this is a secure biography that does make the reader think of the courage and determination of the enigmatic women of SOE.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and moving account of szabo's life, 23 July 2002
The author of the book Susan Ottaway does a fine job in trying to dispel the myths surrounding Szabo's life. Ottaway even suggests that the famous peom The life That I have was not written for or used by Szabo, but in fact it was written for the film Carve Her Name with pride produced in 1958. I have found this book extremely interesting on the whole as gives an insight into Violette's early life and her marriage to a member of the French Foreign Legion. Szabo's capture, life and execution in the infamous Ravensbruck camp is extremely moving as you realise what these people and many others had to endure during the war. I urge everyone to read this book as the memory of those brave people needs to live on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars speed delivery, 24 May 2012
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This review is from: Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have (Paperback)
Good guality interesting story. Inspired by the book and movie: Carve her name with pride. A story about Violette Szabo [...]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I was wishing for more, 10 Oct 2012
By 
M. E. Newell (Georgia, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have (Paperback)
I first heard about Violette Szabo when I read the book "A Life in Secrets" A Life In Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOEand I wanted to read more about her. When I came across "Violette Szabo: The Life that I had" by Susan Ottaway I was intrested. After reading the book, I was left longing to know more about her. The book is thin on details and while the pictures were nice I thought there could have been more to the book.
Overall, Violette Szabo:A Life in Secrets is decent it may leave wanting to know more about this brave woman and those she served with in the SOE.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have (Paperback)
Great
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent Book., 27 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have (Paperback)
Very much a "Can't Put Down" book telling in graphic realism the heroism endured in a time of change and crisis that people put forward in extreem time when our back was against the wall.

Roy Chapman.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Non-fiction or fiction?, 22 Mar 2011
By 
ganymede (new south wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have (Paperback)
Violette Szabo's courage and determination deserves our admiration. Some readers may well feel, as I do, that she also deserved a better biography less inclined to fictionalise and glamorise whenever it suits the writer's ends. Others have mentioned the amount of speculative claptrap that is spun out so much that readers may well think the author is presenting established fact.
The most glaring error is Ottaway's claim that the code poem The Life that I Have was written for the movie "Carve Her Name with Pride". Rudimentary research would have shown that the poem was written during the war by Leo Marks, a cryptographer working for the Special Operations Executive that managed Allied agents in Europe, and was used by Szabo on her mission.
Having found that error, the reader is entitled to wonder how much else has been stuffed up.
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Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have
Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have by Susan Ottaway (Paperback - 19 Dec 2002)
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