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Violette Szabo

A beautiful young widow and mother of a small daughter, Violette Szabo undertook two secret missions to France in 1944 as an agent for the Special Operations Executive. Just after D-Day, a few days into her second mission, she was arrested following a gun battle and sent to Ravensbrück, the women's concentration camp near Berlin, where she was executed at the beginning of 1945.

The first edition of this book, published in 2002, was written with the cooperation of some of Violette’s family members – in particular her elder brother Roy and her daughter Tania – as well as several of her friends and two of the only three SOE agents to survive incarceration in Ravensbrück. The author was also given access to letters written about his daughter by Violette’s father, Charles Bushell, which had never before been made public and remain in a private collection to this day.

This updated edition contains more information, available following the release of documents in 2003, which poses questions about Violette’s relationship with her family and highlights anomalies in the way the official version of Violette’s story was told.


‘Ottaway confirms that she is a meticulous researcher and first-rate historian.’

Alliance Advocate

‘This excellent biography presents a vivid portrait of Violette as an agent and as a person. Extensive research and interviews with people who knew and worked with her have enabled the author to set out the facts and re-examine Violette's remarkable life. This is a moving and gripping read which offers a valuable insight into the character of one of Britain's greatest heroines.’

This England

“Susan Ottaway’s biography of Szabo is in many ways, a counter point to Crave Her Name with Pride. Ottaway was able to interview not only Szabo’s brothers but also her daughter Tania. What is interesting is looking at what Szabo and her daughter think about Szabo’s work and the “morality” of a mother doing such duty. Ottaway also details life after the war and how the family was treated by the makers of the film. Four stars.”

The Fish Shelf

“In 1935 at the age of only fourteen Violette Bushell left school.  In 1944 she was a beautiful widow and the Mother of a young daughter when she undertook two secret missions in France as a Special Operations Executive.  Shortly after D-Day a few days into her second mission she was arrested and sent to Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. She was executed at the beginning of 1945. I give this book five out of five stars!”

Random Ramblings

“Well written and informative, I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the Second World War.”

Kazimiera Pendrey - Reviewer

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