Showing posts with label War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label War. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Code name: Lise - A True Spy Story

 



Code Name: Lise: 

The True Story of the Spy Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Woman

By Larry Loftis

Reviewed by

Geoffrey W. Sutton

Lise was the code name for Odette Samson. She's living in Somerset England with her children at the outset of World War II. Her husband is off at war. Because she was raised in France, her language and experience make her a potential candidate to help the resistance organised by Britain's War Office referred to as SOE (Special Operations Executive).

The story moves quickly from training to deployment. Relying on a trove of records that include interviews and official communications, Loftis creates a vivid thriller of a determined young woman focused on carrying out her risky responsibilities as a courier under threat of the Nazi boot. As the story progresses, she falls in love with her commanding officer, Peter Churchill.

Despite many thrilling escapes, she and Peter are eventually captured by Hugo, Germany's master spy catcher. Disgusting accounts of excruciating torture challenge us as we sink into the depths of Nazi prison cells. Will she and Peter survive? 

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Code Name: Lise is a well-written spy story that reads like a thriller as the heroes face near death experiences bolstered by loyalty and love. After the World War II story ends, Loftis fills us in on what happened to the legacy of this woman who eventually appeared on a UK postage stamp. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys reading true stories about courageous women in times of war.

What's missing? As a psychologist, I wonder if all the interviews and reports would offer us insights into the character of this woman who survived so much before, during, and after World War II. She was in her sixth year when her father died. She survived some serious health challenges during childhood. Like many in Britain, she was alone with her children when her husband headed to war. Then there's was the separation from her children during her war service and horrific torture along with exposure to the multiple severe traumatic events of others. She was a witness after the war. And there were two divorces plus postwar public battles.

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About Odette

Odette Marie Léonie Céline Brailly was born in Amiens France 28 April 1912. Her father died at the battle of Verdun in 1918. She married Roy Sansom in 1931. They had three daughters. Her World War II service was recognised by the British awards of the George Cross and an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). France awarded her the Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur. Odette and Roy divorced. She married and divorced Peter Churchill and later married Geoffrey Hallowed. (Wikipedia)

Code Name: Lise is available on AMAZON










Wednesday, February 6, 2019

They Shall Not Grow Old A Review by Sutton




They Shall Not Grow Old is a profoundly moving tribute to the soldiers of World War I. Peter Jackson (Director; coproducer with Clare Olssen) and his team combine enhanced archival films, photos, audio recordings, and artwork to bring us face to face with the adolescents and young men living and dying along the Western Front.

On the brief skeleton of the sequence of the war years, this documentary tells an extraordinary tale of ordinairy men from the farms, factories, and shops of Great Britain to the muddy graves of the ragged pattern of muddy trenches along the Western Front. Humour and games offer parenthetical relief from the abysmal struggle.

The colourisation and 3D conversion along with other technological modifications help us glimpse the soldier's world of 100 years ago. Many of us have read about the war and seen the old black and white clips bounce by at unnatural speeds. The marvel of technology helps us get closer to real people living and dying on orders from above. We wonder with the story tellers what it's like to live unwashed for days, smell the unberable stench of death, and cope with the raging thunder of artillery.

Whatever one thinks of war, the film is worth seeing to better understand this troubling period when millions died. Jackson worked with the extensive materials in the archives of the Imperial War Museum. Thus, the focus is on the British soldier. Although the film mentions other allies, it is worth remembering that millions of men and women from many nations were in combat zones in Europe and other places around the globe. Perhaps we can get a glimpse of what it might have been like for others from this in-depth look at these young British lads.

In the epilogue, Jackson mentions his grandfather and other connections to the war. That's what brings it home for me as both my grandfathers were in France. Considering the millions who died and survived with or without impairments, there are likely many millions currently alive who have grandparents who can pass along stories of their fathers, mothers, and uncles. Now is the time to remember the men and women of 1914-1918 and to keep a vigilant watch over the decisions our politicians make when it comes to starting or entering a war.




CAUTION: This film contains graphic and disturbing content and may not be suitable for all viewers.


Movie site They Shall Not Grow Old 2018.

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1917 The Movie

The Western Front in France

The Western Front in Belgium

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