** TO BE READ ON BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK FROM 23 JAN 2023 **'As much le Carre as it is Hidden Figures.' AMARYLLIS FOX, author of Life Undercover 'A sweeping epic of a book [which] rescues five remarkable women from obscurity and finally gives them their rightful place in world history ... A book you won't regret reading. Five women you won't forget.' KATE MOORE, author of The Radium Girls'As entertaining as it is instructive.' GENERAL STANLEY MCCRYSTALThe never-before-told story of a small cadre of influential female spies in the precarious early days of the CIA - women who helped create the template for cutting-edge espionage (and blazed new paths for equality in the workplace). In the wake of World War II, four agents were critical in helping build a new organisation now known as the CIA. Adelaide Hawkins, Mary Hutchison, Eloise Page, and Elizabeth Sudmeier, called the 'wise gals' by their male colleagues because of their sharp sense of humour and even quicker intelligence, were not the stereotypical femme fatale of spy novels. They were smart, courageous, and groundbreaking agents at the top of their class, instrumental in both developing innovative tools for intelligence gathering - and insisting (in their own unique ways) that they receive the credit and pay their expertise deserved. Adelaide rose through the ranks, developing new cryptosystems that advanced how spies communicate with each other. Mary worked overseas in Europe and Asia, building partnerships and allegiances that would last decades. Elizabeth would risk her life in the Middle East in order to gain intelligence on deadly Soviet weaponry. Eloise would wield influence on scientific and technical operations worldwide, ultimately exposing global terrorism threats. Meticulously researched and beautifully told, Holt uses firsthand interviews with past and present officials and declassified government documents to uncover the stories of these four inspirational women. Wise Gals sheds a light on the untold history of the women whose daring foreign intrigues, domestic persistence, and fighting spirit have been and continue to be instrumental to the world's security.