Hall of Mirrors: Virginia Hall–America’s Greatest Spy of WWII
In World War II France, she went by the name of Marie. Or Brigitte. Or a half other names. Some saw her as a middle-aged newspaper reporter. To others, she was a doddering old woman. To the Nazis, she was an elusive enemy, “The Lady Who Limps.” Her real name was Virginia Hall. She had a wooden leg she nicknamed “Cuthbert,” and she was a spy. As the Allies’ first agent to live behind the lines in Vichy France, she organized resistance groups, directed sabotage operations. Nazi wanted posters called her, “The most dangerous Allied agent.” She survived suicide missions and became the only civilian woman of the war to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. This is the story of Virginia Hall, based on hundreds of formerly classified documents, but told in first person, as Virginia would have told her own story—how she courageously broke through the barriers of physical limitation and gender discrimination to become America’s Greatest Spy of WWII.
More about Virginia Hall
As a former analyst and writer for CIA, I’ve long been captivated by Virginia Hall’s heroic story. I traveled to France, walked in Virginia’s footsteps, and discovered her escape route over the rugged Pyrenees. My story, “A Climb to Freedom,”was featured in Studies in Intelligence—CIA’s premier journal for intelligence professionals.