Review: Flames in the Field The Story of Four S.O.E. Agents in Occupied France by Rita Kramer

Title: Flames in the Field The Story of Four SOE Agents in Occupied France
Author: Rita Kramer
Publisher: Penguin November 21, 2011
Genre: Non-fiction
Labels: S.O.E. Agents, French Resistance, World War II, France, Great Britain, England, Spy, Nazi Germany, Espionage, MI6, MI5
Format: eBook Kindle
Age: Adult
Pages: 368 in paperback, 2188 KB in Kindle
Rating: 5 Stars

Four young women who were S.O.E. agents were murdered by Nazi's at a French camp in 1944. Little was known about them, in how they came to be arrested and how they died. Vera Atkins had been a British intelligence officer during World War II. She'd known these women and trained them. Author Rita Kramer, began her book by giving evidence on how she came to know about these women, her research, and interviews with Vera Atkins and other's who'd known them. Flames in the Field, morphed into more than just telling the story of these four women, but the intelligence and counter-intelligence used during World War II.
The Four S.O.E. Agents were: 
Vera Leigh, born Vera Glass
Diana Rowden
Sonya Olschanezky
Andree Borrel

My Thoughts:
I wanted to read this book because it was about women S.O.E. agents during World War II, I'd not read any other books about this type of history.
I also wanted to read this book because I'd seen it had a near 5 star average of reviews on Amazon.

Why I gave this book 5 stars for excellence:
  • I was given an eye-opening education on intelligence gained and how it was used during World War II. This included dirty tricks, tools used, wrong information given to the enemy, agents who were double agents or changed sides often, indoctrination and training of S.O.E. agents, and F-Sector's failure.
  • Other stories are shared of people who were from all walks of life and were willing to give their lives to defeat the enemy and to gain freedom. 
  • Several men's stories are included, both their lives during and post war. Two of the men were accused of betrayal and murder, two others shared their own research and views about intelligence operations during World War II, another man who'd been an S.O.E. agent and arrested--he survived to share his story.
  • I love books where I'm given much more information on the subject than I'd expected.
  • I was amazed at the authors tenacity. She was told to back off, but she did not. During the course of her research she found out information that could tarnish people and countries.  
  • Short biographies are given on the four S.O.E women agents. 
  • This book is a page-turner, I had a difficult time putting my Kindle down. 
Final Thoughts:
I'm still amazed, and even after World War II ended 68 years ago----man's inhumanity to man. I'll never understand it.
I highly recommend this book to any reader who loves World War II history, it's a gem!

The Kindle is $3.99


  1. thanks for your great review. I recently read a novel on the same topic, with SOE agents, so so good: The Lavender Garden:

  2. This one sounds really interesting to me, especially since my daughter and I just finished watching an old series on Netflix, Wish Me Luck, about British agents in Occupied France. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  3. I am fascinating by books about WWII, fiction and non-fiction. I will have to see if my library has this one!


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