A Guest of the Reich

A Guest of the Reich

"Thrilling! An intimate spy story, as though a dear friend is taking us along on her misadventure behind Nazi lines."
--Bill Dedman, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Empty Mansions


From the co-author of The Zhivago Affair, a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award, comes the dramatic story of a South Carolina heiress who joined the OSS and became the first American woman in uniform taken prisoner on the Western front--until her escape from Nazi Germany.

Gertrude "Gertie" Legendre was a big-game hunter and from a wealthy industrial family who lived a charmed life in Jazz Age America. Her adventurous spirit made her the inspiration for a Broadway play, Holiday, which became a film starring Katharine Hepburn. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Legendre, by then married and a mother of two, joined the OSS, the wartime spy organization that preceded the CIA. First in Washington and then in London, some of the most closely-held United States government secrets passed through her hands. In A Guest of the Reich, Peter Finn tells the gripping story of how in 1944, while on leave in liberated Paris, Legendre was captured by the Germans after accidentally crossing the front lines.

Subjected to repeated interrogations, including by the Gestapo, Legendre entered a daring game of lies with her captors. The Nazis treated her as a "special prisoner" of the SS and moved her from city to city throughout Germany, where she witnessed the collapse of Hitler's Reich as no other American did. After six months in captivity, Legendre escaped into Switzerland.

A Guest of the Reich is a propulsive account of a little-known chapter in the history of World War II, as well as a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary woman.

Title:A Guest of the Reich
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781524747336
Format Type:

    A Guest of the Reich Reviews

  • Elise Musicant

    This book was a very interesting depiction of the time Gertrude Legendre spend in captivity in Germany at the end of World War II.That being said, I felt the subtitle “The Story of American Heiress ...

  • Stephanie Crowe

    Gertrude Legendre was a wealthy adventuress who loved spending time on hunting trips. She was an accomplished marksman and after she married both she and her husband, Sidney, traveled the world fulfil...

  • Felicity Selvoski

    Ugh. I thought this had the potential to be interesting, but she was a spoiled brat at the start of the book and nothing changed by the end. I was tempted to stop reading during the detailed accounts ...

  • Lindsay

    My feelings about this book are complicated by the fact that I came to detest the subject....

  • Sandy

    Interesting read. While not what I was expecting (the capture and escape in the subtitle was anticlimactic), still a true story of a fascinating and at times foolish woman. A good read for those inter...

  • Debbie

    A very bizarre storyline. Spoiled rich woman endangers the lives of 3 U.S. soldiers because she wants to see the war up close. Couldn't feel anything for her experience, and found myself just waiting ...

  • Steve Solnick

    Compelling and wonderfully written account of the life of Gertrude Legendre - heiress, hunter, wartime intelligence officer and first US woman in uniform taken as a prisoner of war. "Gertie" is a fasc...

  • Paula Fahey

    This was hard to rate. I thought the quality of the writing was excellent. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like Gertie. This is a strong woman, I suppose, but so incredibly selfish that I think there...

  • Jim Tracy

    If you're interested in going into Nazi Germany as it collapses under the weight of the allied advance, this book is for you. Well written, it started off slowly with a lot of exposition but picked up...

  • Tory

    you know online when you see a shocking headline and click on the article...only to find the article not at all what you thought it was going to be? and voila, the writer got you to click!This is the ...