- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
The Secret Ministry of Ag. & Fish: My Life in Churchill's School for Spies Paperback – Unabridged, 8 May 2014
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Told with wit, charm and enthusiasm, it's a compelling read." --"Choice"
"Riols' personality shines through this perceptive, readable account of those on missions where there was never a better than 50:50 chance of survival." --"Times"
A vivid and enthralling memoir from one of the only surviving members of SOE's F (for France) SectionSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
I was enthralled by her energy and stories and rushed an order for the book.
A joy to read with a lot of insights to stories that have been told some in part before about the SOE and with some important new facts and opinions. A must read for anyone interested in the dark world of secret agents during World War Two.
It was a very lightweight romp thro the places she worked and thepeople she knew and worked with in SOE, the WW2 sabotage agency. Her role was largely safely ensconced in an office, but you did get a flavour of the role she performed, which owing to her youth was deemed too young to be infiltrated into France as an agent.
The book was a very easy read for anyone not knowledgable about the workings of F section in SOE, and throughout the book, numerous agents were quoted, with either a brief bio or Noreen's person thoughts on that person. The book therefore wandered thro the war, quoting agents, lamenting the many enemies of SOE, and giving an impression that she 'enjoyed' the excitement of what was happening on the continent, but from safely with Britain.
As an avid reader of many SOE books, I found the content mostly superficial with much of the character pieces too short for my liking, but I did keep reading because there was the odd piece arising which I had never picked up before. If you have never read anything about SOE before it does give you a good broad-brush idea of what It did do during the war, and for that I think it succeeded, but not fully to my expectations.
The final quarter of the book was post-war reminiscing and I think it got a bit maudlin then, but as she represents the last remaining member of SOE attending the reunions, I think she deserves that right, and again I can't really fault her for her repetition of accounts of the many dead courageous colleagues. There is a roll of honour of the 100+ agents as an appendix to the end of the book, where they were acknowledged.
The book was a brave attempt to tell a modern account of Resistance in France during the last war, but there are a great many modern books will tell it much more authoritatively (best being Foot's official offering), but there are none that will tell it in the first person - I was there accounts. I noticed that Bob Maloubier's story is being posthumously being published in English in 2018, and this man was Noreen's last remaining Special Forces wartime colleague. I think she has the right to tell the story in her own way, as she remembers it, unfortunately it did not fully tick all boxes for me, but I do admire her for the effort to get it down on paper.
The stories of how Mme. Riols sent those intrepid men & women on their way and - hopefully - how she would welcome them back, is extremely well-told. She describes not only their adventures in France but also the difficulties which they encountered after the war, when they had to come to terms with peace. In addition, she outlines the petty and often ludicrous jealousies between governmental departments, both British and French.
The book has its faults but in fairness, they are minor ones. An index should have been compiled and there are one or two mild inaccuracies but that's all. The book is extremely well-written but Mme. Riols appeared reticent about including that highly decorated agent, Nancy Wake's comment, `I loved killing Germans'. Well, it was said, because Nancy said those words to me, and added for emphasis, `bloody loved it'. She went on to explain precisely why she held that opinion; I could understand why.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biography > Historical > 1901 Onwards
- Books > Biography > Historical > Britain > Military
- Books > Biography > Historical > Countries & Regions > Europe
- Books > Biography > War & Espionage > Espionage
- Books > Biography > War & Espionage > World War II
- Books > History > Europe > Great Britain > 20th Century
- Books > History > Military History > Military Intelligence & Espionage
- Books > History > Military History > World War II 1939-1945 > Biographies & Memoirs