Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy

by Damien Lewis is a biography of the famed nightclub performer Josephine Baker that focuses on her daring, heroic role during World War II as a spy for the Allies. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Baker fled racism and poverty in the U.S. and made a name for herself in Europe during the 1920s. In 1939, before the Nazis were even occupying Paris, Baker was recruited by French intelligence. Her first assignment--to cozy up to an attaché at the Italian embassy to find out if Mussolini and Hitler planned an alliance--signaled the importance and magnitude of her work would have on the war effort. Lewis’s book includes fascinating details, like the fact that Baker would smuggle classified information written in invisible ink on her music sheets, or that her collaboration with French intelligence also resulted in an affair with Jacques Abtey, her supervisor at the Deuxième Bureau. This is a captivating, reads-like-fiction biography that’s also packed with historical detail. (Non-Fiction)