Need a book to listen to while you travel? Check out these two non-fiction books that will keep you and your teenagers entertained during long car rides. Or sheltering in place.
I love listening to biography, self-help, and business books while I drive. They keep me awake, and I learn something new at the same time. This week I share two of my favorite true stories, one about a spy, and one about a horse.
A Woman of No Importance
by Sonia Purnell, Penguin Books, 2019, 368 pages.
“In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”
“The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and–despite her prosthetic leg–helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.
“Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall–an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman’s fierce persistence helped win the war.”~from Amazon
Why I Loved This Book
What’s not to love about a one-legged spy that outwits Hitler’s best time and time again? Her undauting courage will amaze you. A once-in-a-lifetime woman who was a strange mix of modern thinking held back by social mores of her family.
I loved the Audible book because someone who knows French gets to do all the heavy lifting pronoucing the names and locations in France. If you have younger kids in the car, you probably wouldn’t want to listen to it together.
The author doesn’t candy coat the violence of war.
The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse that Inspired a Nation
by Elizabeth Letts, Ballentine Books, 2011, 353 pages.
“Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. The recent Dutch immigrant recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up nag and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, he ultimately taught Snowman how to fly.
“Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.”~from Amazon
Why I Loved This Book
In times of national stress, we could all use an apolitical hero. Enter Snowman, the hero of a nation in the midst of a Cold War. You’ll cheer for the underdog (or underhorse), as well as his trainer. Your kids will love the story, too.
For other book reviews, check out the tab Book Talk Tuesdays. Younger readers may enjoy these books.
I don’t have teens, but might enjoy reading those books myself–especially the first one about Virginia Hall.