Author(s): Marcus Binney
In World War II, 37 women were dropped in occupied France to work as Special Operations Executive agents and 'set Europe ablaze'. 13 never returned. They were executed in Hitler's concentration camps. This is the fascinating story of eight of those female agents, all striking beauties (despite the need to be inconspicuous), all from civilian life, who were warned of the likelihood of arrest, torture and a brutal death before they volunteered. None demurred. These young women were given months of arduous fitness, gun, explosives, endurance and code training before parachuting into occupied territory. But Women Who Lived for Danger also contains eight very personal tales. Why did these women volunteer? Where did they come from? Marcus Binney tells of a life of Resistance work and uncover operations, clandestine activities and even armed combat, and a constant fear of discovery. But above this book tells of extreme bravery and devotion to duty.
'He writes with real sympathy of the work of SOE's women agents ... each one brief, evocative and easy to read. All these stories exhibit quiet heroism and a readiness to take on ghastly risks; many show the catastrophic suddenness with which agents plunge into danger' -- MRD Foot, The Times 'An annal of bright courage' -- John Crossland, The Sunday Times 20020818 'It is a book to dip in and out of and relish. More than that, it captures a manic truth about terror.' -- Peter Preston, Observer 20020818 'Mr Binney covers their activities on the ground with authority and conviction; and describes with a sure touch the complex atmosphere of jealousies, political jockeying and incipient treachery ... the book is a tribute to them all and a worthy record.' -- Charles Vyvyan, Country Life 20020818 'Enthralling new details about World War II and Churchill's top-secret Special Operations Executive are uncovered' -- Val Hennessy, Daily Mail 20020818 'As Binney observes in this fascinating and valuable account, these girls were no Charlotte Grays, ducking out of service to pursue calls of the heart. They were girls who did the business.' -- Alan Judd, Sunday Telegraph 20020818 'This remarkable story ... pays tribute to their astonishing and often unsung heroism without resorting to sensationalism.' -- Sunday Mercury 20020811 'Reading [this] no one would ever doubt the courage of the men and women of Special Operation Executive' -- Artemis Cooper, Daily Telegraph 20020811 'High drama ... a tribute to the remarkable women who risked their lives' -- Good Book Guide 20020901
Marcus Binney went to Cambridge, and has lectured extensively to historical societies in New York, Boston, Rhode Island, and Virginia on architectural preservation and history. He has fronted a 39-part series - Mansions: The Great Houses of Europe - broadcast in the US between 1993 and 1997.