• Christine Granville (1908-1952), was a spy in Poland and France during the Second World War. (Apic/Getty)

    License to Kill

    WWII’s Most Glamorous Spy

    Christine Granville was a Polish beauty queen who became one of Britain’s most valuable spies. Emma Garman on her tragic death.

    In the summer of 1952, the brutal murder of a woman in a Kensington hotel shocked Britain and sparked a media frenzy: no ordinary victim, Christine Granville was a Polish beauty queen turned British secret agent, the newspapers breathlessly revealed, a countess by birth whose remarkable bravery during the Second World War had saved countless lives. But the sensationalist cover stories couldn’t hope to capture the full tragic irony of Christine’s sordid, pointless death at the hands of a spurned lover. Over the course of her wartime career, a gift for repeatedly escaping the deadliest of situations—into which she walked with the eager nonchalance of a true adrenaline junkie—had conferred mythical status on the slender, dark-haired daredevil. Dying as a civilian in peacetime, with nothing and no one at stake, was an almost comically cruel twist of fate.

    Not only did the hush-hush nature of Christine’s work mean that few specifics of her feats were known outside of espionage circles, but when she died, many of her friends conspired to draw a veil over the details of her life—in particular her spectacularly diverse romances, from which her intrepid exploits were often inextricable. The Panel to Protect the Memory of Christine Granville, for example, comprised five friends and former lovers who wanted to “defend her memory” and prevent her from becoming “a press sensation”; several biographies and articles were consequently quashed. While a few books about Christine have emerged in the intervening decades, only now, with the publication of Clare Mulley’s scrupulously researched and expertly rendered biography, do we have a multidimensional, uncensored, impartial portrait of the legendary spy—said to be Churchill’s favorite—whose 44-year existence was filled with more eye-popping adventures than we’d find plausible in any novel or movie. 

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  • Happy Mother’s Day!

    An Ode to Mom

    Gloria Steinem, Erica Jong, and other writers pay tribute to their mothers, who were all memorable in their own ways.

    Gloria Steinem

    In the dedication to an earlier book, I wrote that my mother had "performed the miracle of loving others even when she could not love herself." At the time, I thought this was the biggest and most mysterious gift she had given my sister and me. But in recent years of listening to stories of other people’s childhoods and reading books on child rearing, I’ve realized she did something even more difficult—and more rare. She managed to break the pattern of her own upbringing and pass on something quite different to us.

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  • The Women in the World Foundation is a powerful initiative dedicated to driving solutions that advance women and girls. The Foundation was born out of Newsweek & The Daily Beast's annual Women in the World Summit, launched by the publications' editor-in-chief, Tina Brown, in March 2010. An intimate and impactful gathering centered on vivid storytelling and live journalism, the Summit brings together women from all over the world. From CEOs and world leaders to grassroots activists and firebrand dissidents - each year the Summit brings to light the incredible stories of women and girls, looking at both their challenges and triumphs, and inspiring solutions to women's issues. 

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  • In partnership with the Virtue Foundation, create a fund to help children in Ghana receive critical medical care and education.

    In a remote corner of northwest Ghana called Tumu, only one doctor is available to treat more than 100,000 people in the area, and transportation is scarce. Children go without the most basic medical care. Women die in labor before they can reach a hospital. And a little boy named Latif, who suffered terrible burns as an infant in a fire that scorched off his eyelids and decimated his left arm, desperately hoped for help. Unable to close his eyes, he risked going blind.
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  • Marc Bryan-Brown

    #WIW13

    ‘A Tipping Point for Women’

    Melanne Verveer and Tina Brown talk upcoming Women in the World Summit and the momentum behind global women’s rights.

    The New York Times previews the upcoming Women in the World Summit today, calling the event, which will take place on Thursday and Friday at Lincoln Center, one that has “leaped to the forefront of the scene, drawing thousands of chief executives, world leaders, artists, and activists.”

    Summit co-hosts Melanne Verveer, former Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, and Newsweek and The Daily Beast executive editor Tina Brown noted that this year’s conference comes at a moment of both great progress and great challenge for women’s rights worldwide. On the one hand, Verveer said, “there’s been a great deal of progress in government policies, education, civil society, and in the private sector ... We’re moving in a way we’ve not seen before.” At the same time, she said, “I feel heartened by the progress, but aware that many challenges remain.”

    Among those challenges: stemming the epidemic of violence against women. In the past few months alone, several high-profile femicides and gang rapes have dominated headlines, from India to South Africa to Brazil. However, Brown said, the outcry that these cases have provoked indicates that we’re at a “tipping point for women.”

    “We talk a lot in America about a lot of issues about getting to the corner office,” Brown told the Times, “but these women are fighting for basic rights, and I want to bring the spotlight to them.”

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  • March on violence against women at the United Nations on March 8. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty)

    Progress

    U.N. to Fight Violence Against Women

    131 countries approve plan.

    It has been contentious, but on Friday night the United Nations approved a plan to fight violence against women worldwide. Against the wishes of the Muslim Brotherhood, which says the plan compromises Islamic principles and family values, Egypt joined 130 other countries in approving the 17-page document. The blueprint asks all countries to condemn violence and to ”refrain from invoking any custom, tradition, and religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination.”

    Read it at Associated
  • Hundreds of mourners gather for the funeral of 17-year-old Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp, South Africa, on Feb. 9, 2013. (Landov)

    Women in the World

    South Africa Rallies Against Gang Rape

    The brutal rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl has shaken the country’s consciousness—and inspired South Africans to share their own stories of sexual violence.

    Eight days ago, in a crime that shocked South Africa, 17-year-old Anene Booysen was brutally gang-raped. Her throat was slit; her fingers and legs shattered. The attackers had stuck a broken glass bottle inside her body and left her for dead on a construction site in the small, quiet Western Cape town of Bredasdorp, about 120 miles from Cape Town. A security guard found her near lifeless body. She identified and named at least one of the alleged rapists, but died soon thereafter.

    South Africa, a deeply wounded nation that still grapples with the scars of a violent apartheid past, has been jolted to its core by the gratuitous act of violence visited upon this young woman.  Booysen’s case has also shattered the silence around the country’s rape crisis, which seldom gets the national attention it deserves.

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