May 2

Women Spies of WWII

with Ellen McCarthy, Judith L. Pearson, and Erika Robuck

Rendezvous Info
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
6:30 PM ET

This program is sold out.

“Beware of Female Spies” warned a WWI US poster. But a better piece of advice might be: “Get them into your service and then stay out of their way while they get things done!” This evening we bring together two speakers who have written about the dramatic lives of women spies in World War II for a conversation moderated by a woman who has had her own extraordinary career in the intelligence community in the 21st century.

Ellen McCarthy, who has formerly been both Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and Chief Operating Officer of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, will interview Judith L. Pearson and Erika Robuck to explore the common threads and research required to make women spies on the page come to life. Pearson is the author of The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy. This 2006 biography of Virginia Hall traces the life of the intrepid spy who was the UK SOE’s go-to agent in World War II France before she had to flee for her life with Klaus Barbie, “the Butcher of Lyon,” hot on her trail. On her second trip to Nazi-occupied France, on an OSS mission disguised as a simple farmer, she radioed vital info to London and ran a Resistance circuit that helped pave the way for the Allied invasion. Erika Robuck is a best-selling author whose works of biographical fiction The Invisible Woman and Sisters of Night and Fog are based on the true stories of Hall, Violette Szabo, and Virginia d’Albert-Lake. Szabo was a renowned SOE agent who operated in occupied France, d’Albert-Lake sheltered Allied pilots as they escaped France, both were imprisoned for their actions. The speakers tonight will share their passion for bringing the bravery of these women’s exploits to light and what it might take to get Hall the Medal of Honor. 

The authors’ books will be available for sale and signing after the conversation.


image of authors' books

From the Spy Store

Wolves at the Door: The True Story Of America's Greatest Female Spy

Virginia Hall left her Baltimore home in 1931 to enter the Foreign Service and went to work for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) when Hitler was building toward the peak of his power in Europe. Hitler's forces were hot on her trail and her daring intelligence activities and indomitable spirit defied the expectations of even the Allies until the very end of the war.
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