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Peter Finn: A Guest of the Reich

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Briefing

From the co-author of The Zhivago Affair, a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award, comes the thrilling story of a wealthy heiress who joined the OSS and was captured in September 1944 behind enemy lines, becoming the first American woman in uniform taken prisoner on the western front--before her daring escape from Nazi Germany.

Gertrude "Gertie" Legendre was a big-game hunter and society woman from South Carolina who lived a charmed life in Jazz Age America. Her adventurous spirit made her the inspiration for a Broadway play, Holiday, which became a film starring Katherine Hepburn. The attack on Pearl Harbor led Gertie to join the OSS, the wartime spy organization that preceded the CIA. First in Washington and then in London, some of the most closely-held government secrets passed through her hands. In 1944, on leave from duty in liberated Paris, she was captured by the Nazis after accidentally crossing the front lines. Subjected to repeated interrogations, her toughness averted a potential intelligence disaster. Moved from city to city throughout Germany, including a stay in Berlin, she was able to witness the collapse of Hitler's Reich as no other American did, until the day she escaped into Switzerland. A Guest of the Reich is a propulsive, heart-racing account of a little-known chapter in the story of the Second World War, and an irresistible portrait of a truly extraordinary woman.

PETER FINN is the National Security Editor at The Washington Post. He is also the co-author of The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA and the Battle over a Forbidden Book, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction and a finalist for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize. The Zhivago Affair has been translated into eight languages. He lives in northern Virginia.

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