3:15pm - 4:45pm


4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13 & 5/20

Six Sessions

This course will be offered online via the free, easy-to-use Zoom program.

Amazing true stories abound of female spies and code breakers during World War II and the early 20th century. Although men often received credit for their work, the women were well suited for espionage and consistently outperformed their male colleagues. Learn how American women broke the Japanese code and helped win the Battle of the Pacific.  And just who was the coolheaded, one-legged spy who changed the course of the World War II…?


A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II, Sonia Purnell [Viking, 2019]

The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies, Jason Fagone [Dey Street Books reprint edition, 2017]

Madame Forcade's Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France's Largest Spy Network Against Hitler by Lynne Olsen

Code Name Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy" by Larry Loftis

Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox

    Additional readings can be found here:

    OLLI course spy books_good.docx

    Alan Rubin holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Lehigh University. He owned and operated an independent retail business in New York City for four decades, as chronicled in his daughter Jen Rubin’s book, We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store, and a Neighborhood. He mentors many in the local community including BCC students, small businesses, and Taconic High School students.

    Course Introduction:

    Spy course introduction.docx

    Course Materials for class 1, 4/15/20:

    WWII Women Spies and Code Breakers Session 1.pdf

    Course Materials for class 2, 4/22/20:

    WWII Women Spies and Code Breakers_Week 2.pdf

    Course Materials for class 3, 4/29/20:

    WWII Women Spies and Code Breakers_Week 3.pdf

    Course Materials for class 4, 5/6/20:

    DRAMATIS PERSONAE_Odette Sansom.docx


    WWII Women Spies and Code Breakers_Week 4 Oddette.pdf

    Course Materials for class 4, 5/13/20:

    List of female SOE agents.docx

    Femal SOE Agents.xlsx

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    OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
    Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

    1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 | olli@berkshirecc.edu

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