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History Book Club: A Woman of No Importance
Virginia Hall, an American woman in her early 30s, was first a spy for Britain and then for America during World War II. She is the subject of A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell, the "Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win WWII." The Hampton Historical Society History Book Group will discuss this book Sunday, January 5, at 2 p.m., at the Tuck Museum. Please note that this is earlier than the usual meeting time for the club.

"Hall came from a prominent family and her mother wanted her to be a society woman," said Barbara Tosiano, who leads the discussions. "But Hall wanted adventure."

Hall struggled to achieve a position of prominence with the U.S. State Department during the 1930s. She held lesser positions, and it was while she was working in Turkey that she went hunting, shot herself in the leg and, subsequently, her leg was amputated.

But her disability did not hold her back. According to Tosiano, she secured a job driving an ambulance in France before the U.S. entered the war. There she came to the attention of the British government, which hired her into an early spy agency under Winston Churchill. Hall's job was to organize resistance fighters in France and arrange for parachute drops of weapons, food, and medicine.

After the United States entered the war, Hall performed espionage work for the U.S. Many of the fighters she worked with died horrible deaths, and she had many close calls, according to Tosiano. At one point the Nazis had a contract out for her death.

"Hall was more James Bond than James Bond," Tosiano said.

Tosiano will be baking French butter cookies Madelines for the book group. All are welcome to attend.