Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nancy Wake: A Biography of our Greatest War Heroine

In keeping with my promise to myself to read widely, and hopefully this will help improve my writing, I just finished reading Nancy Wake's biography by Peter Fitzsimons.

Nancy is an incredible woman, and there's no taking anything away from her life or her story.

I knew nothing about Nancy Wake until I went to see Peter Fitzsimons speak in Wagga Wagga upon the release of his autobiography: 'A Simpler Time'. He's a great speaker, and I knew he'd written quite a few books on various wars. He talked about he book about Nancy Wake. So I bought it after he'd finished speaking, and had him autograph it for me.

Peter Fitzsimons used a lot of cliches in his autobiography. I had hoped his voice wouldn't be so strong in his book on Nancy Wake. Unfortunately, it was. He's got a very distinct writing style, and he makes serious situations seem humorous. Nancy came across as a very frivolous party-girl before the war, and perhaps a lot of the sayings that Peter Fitzsimons used were her own. But I sometimes felt that the language used made the events that Nancy went through trivial, which they definitely were not.

I admire Nancy. I admire her strength and determination. I admire her survival. I feel pity for her, that Australians didn't give her the recognition she felt she deserved, or that nothing in life lived up to war time after WWII. She didn't seem able to settle into normality again, although she was used to living a wealthy fast-paced life before the war. I hope she has found some peace since Peter Fitzsimons wrote this book.

I highly recommend this book, because I think every Australian should be aware of what Nancy Wake did. Just be prepared for Peter's seemingly light-heartedness in his writing style.

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