UVA alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends in the Charlottesville community are invited to join us for the UVA Club of Charlottesville’s September book club, where we will discuss Sonia Purnell’s book A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II.
About the book: “A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people—and a little resistance.” —NPR
The never-before-told story of Virginia Hall, the American spy who changed the course of World War II, from the author of Clementine.
In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”
The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and—despite her prosthetic leg—helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.
Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.
Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall—an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman’s fierce persistence helped win the war.
About the UVA Club of Charlottesville Book Club: All alumni, parents, and friends of UVA are invited to join us for our Monthly Book Club, (normally) held the first Tuesday of every month at New Dominion Bookshop on the Downtown Mall. Guests are welcome to bring their own snacks. The books for the following month’s meetings will be announced and copies will be available for purchase at the bookstore—a great opportunity to support a local business!