Agent Most Wanted: The Never-Before-Told Story of the Most Dangerous Spy of World War II

Agent Most Wanted: The Never-Before-Told Story of the Most Dangerous Spy of World War II

by Sonia Purnell
Agent Most Wanted: The Never-Before-Told Story of the Most Dangerous Spy of World War II

Agent Most Wanted: The Never-Before-Told Story of the Most Dangerous Spy of World War II

by Sonia Purnell


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A young readers adaptation of Sonia Purnell's New York Times bestselling book A Woman of No Importance, the story of Virginia Hall; the unassuming American spy who helped the allies win World War II.

Virginia Hall was deemed "the most dangerous of all allied spies" by the Gestapo. Armed with her wits and her prosthetic leg, she was deployed behind enemy lines to inspire resistance in France, providing crucial support to fighting the Nazi occupation. In this largely untold story, Sonia Purnell uncovers the truth behind a Baltimore socialite who was essential to allied victory.

Adapted for the elementary to middle school audience, Agent Most Wanted is equal parts an inspiring tale of feminism in a time when women weren't taken seriously, an epic spy story, and, of course, a retelling of winning one of the largest global conflicts in modern history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593350546
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 08/09/2022
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 153,089
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 1150L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

Sonia Purnell is a biographer and journalist who has worked at The Economist, The Telegraph, and The Sunday Times. Her book Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill (published as First Lady in the UK) was chosen as a book of the year by The Telegraph and The Independent, and was a finalist for the Plutarch Award. Her first book, Just Boris, was longlisted for the Orwell prize.

Read an Excerpt

May 1940. France was falling to Germany. Ten million women, children, and old men--the largest exodus of refugees in history--were fleeing the armies of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. Roads were littered with burned-out cars, possessions, and bodies. But the horde kept coming: a never-ending line too hungry, tired, and fearful to stop.

A French army ambulance wove through the crowd, its driver a thirty-four-year-old American volunteer. Private Virginia Hall often ran low on fuel and medicine, but she just kept going. Even when enemy German aircraft screamed overhead, dive-bombing the convoys all around her, torching the cars and cratering the roads. Even when the planes machine-gunned the ditches where women and children were taking shelter. Even when her left hip complained with her constantly pressing on the clutch with her prosthetic foot.

In the midst of destruction, she had never felt so thrillingly alive.

Virginia's services as an ambulance driver was an apprenticeship for her future mission against the occupying German forces. In an age when women barely figured in warfare, she went on to create a daredevil role for herself involving espionage, sabotage, and resistance behind enemy lines.

As an undercover agent, Virginia operated in the shadows, and that was where she was happy. Her closest allies knew neither her real name nor her nationality. She seemed to have no home or family or regiment, just a burning desire to defeat the Nazis. Constantly changing her appearance and mannerisms, surfacing without notice then disappearing again, she remained a mystery throughout the war and in some ways after it too.

When the battle for France's liberation from Hitler's tyranny began, in 1944, the underground Resistance fighters she had equipped, trained, and sometimes commanded exceeded all expectations and helped bring about complete and final victory for the Allies: Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. But even that was not enough for Virginia Hall.

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