A Life in Secrets Vera Atkins was a stylish but unbeautiful British secret service officer during World War II who was often treated like a man — and often… A Life in Secrets Vera Atkins was a stylish but unbeautiful British secret service officer during World War II who was often treated like a man — and often… 2006-08-22 Biography Nonfiction Nan A. Talese
Book Review

A Life in Secrets (2006)

EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Aug 22, 2006; Writer: Sarah Helm; Genres: Biography, Nonfiction; Publisher: Nan A. Talese

Vera Atkins was a stylish but unbeautiful British secret service officer during World War II who was often treated like a man — and often acted like one, too. Atkins was initially a sort of guardian to her female spies before they parachuted into occupied France. When 12 went missing by war's end, she launched an investigation. But Atkins could be callous, ultimately caring more about her own success. The depth of Helm's reporting is obsessive, like Atkins herself in her interrogation of war criminals. Though the elaborate details weigh the story down at times, Sarah Helm's account, A Life in Secrets, is a chilling reminder of the ghastliness of WWII.

Originally posted Aug 18, 2006 Published in issue #893 Aug 25, 2006 Order article reprints
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