Sunday, October 25, 2015

Code Name Pauline by Pearl Witherington Cornioley

Title:  Code Name Pauline
Author:  Pearl Witherington Cornioley
Publication Date:  August 1/13 by Chicago Review Press
Length:  208pgs
Genre:  history
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

One of the most celebrated female World War II resistance fighters shares her remarkable story in this firsthand account of her experience as a special agent for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). Told through a series of reminiscences—from a difficult childhood spent in the shadow of World War I and her family’s harrowing escape from Paris as the Germans approached in 1940 to her recruitment and training as a special agent and the logistics of parachuting into a remote rural area of occupied France and, later, hiding in a wheat field from enemy fire—each chapter also includes helpful opening remarks to provide context and background on the SOE and the French Resistance. With an annotated list of key figures, an appendix of original unedited interview extracts—including the story of Pearl’s fiancé Henri who escaped a German POW camp to become Pearl's second-in-command—and fascinating photographs and documents from Pearl’s personal collection, this memoir will captivate World War II buffs of any age.

My Review:

What a unique look at a time in history when women shone but had yet to be fully accepted. This is an intricate tale that is full of historical details and tells a complete story. At times I felt as if I’d travelled back in time, experiencing the tale through the authors’ words. The firsthand account of the story made it even more poignant for me.

It also was an enjoyable read, reading like a work of fiction. I appreciated the fact that the authors didn’t try to romanticize the characters that they introduced us to or the time period in question.

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