Could You Turn the Tide of War? A Review of CODE NAME: LISE by Larry Loftis
If your country asked you to sacrifice everything, could you do it? It is a struggle to imagine our actions could turn the tide of a major world war. But heroism does not disappear because there is not a militant battle to be fought. Heroism rises in the hearts and minds of people who are willing to serve.
Odette Sansom, WWII’s most highly decorated spy, responded to her country’s call to arms with a personal conviction to fight against terrorism and abuse. Due to her gusto and French nationality a commanding officer sent her into the hub of occupied France. She and her circuit, SPINDLE, sabotaged the Nazi German army for months before her arrest and imprisonment by the Gestapo. Her honorable character and iron might are the central themes of Larry Loftis’ new, nonfiction release, CODE NAME: LISE.
In the massive list of books covering the war in Europe during the 1940s, CODE NAME: LISE stands out, offering a perspective shifting story for all readers. Odette’s courageous story paired with Loftis’ thriller writing style is unique. Less than halfway through the book, readers discover Odette fought the enemy with goodness in her heart and pure intentions in her mind, making her defiant stand against the enemy incredible.
The pages of this true story share Odette never saw herself as a victim even though she was betrayed by a double agent and gruesomely punished. Many heroes of WWII are heralded for their survival and acts of courage, yet, Odette acted in a seemingly small way, as if everyone was in her care. She fought for good people and the restoration of the goodness in all people. Loftis quotes journal entries from her captors that show Odette saw the glimmer of worthiness in the German officers and Gestapo agents who held her captive. She reminded them of their dignity and humanity. She hunkered down against terror and oppression until the final day of the war when she was turned over, in pitiful condition, to a group of American soldiers.
While this rendition of Odette’s story seems a bit larger than life at times. It is clear, Larry Loftis dedicated heart, honesty, and respect to Odette’s story. His nonfiction book, CODE NAME: LISE, is like a final, public decree of all Odette’s hard-won battles. While Loftis’ Preface details the quantity of time and resources he dedicated to retelling Odette’s story, readers can trust the pages which reflect the sincerity Loftis has to recounting all the facts of Odette’s career in Section F.
The pace at which Loftis moves readers through the true events of the Spring of 1942 to the Fall of 1945 is incredible. Three years are extended and contracted to detail a lifetime of pain and brief moments of passion. Reaching the end of the book, despite the enormity of information, is quite attainable for all levels of readers because Loftis writes well. Few nonfiction books have grabbed a hold of my attention with such force as this one. When asked in 1942 if she would help turn the tide of the war, Odette did not enlist in the British military so one day this book would be written. Her valor and incredible sacrifice is a wonderful reason to buy this book and pass it along.
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