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Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris

Publisher: W.W. Norton

For excerpts, click on Code Name Madeleine under Selected Works to the right

    The definitive biography of Noor Inayat Khan, a Sufi heroine who fought the Nazis from a unique spiritual perspective. Noor was a true global citizen: American through her mother, and a princess through her father, Hazrat Inayat Khan, who brought Sufism to the West from India. Growing up in a lush Paris suburb, Noor -- a poet, musician and author – was devoted to her family and to her father's spiritual legacy. After fleeing from the Germans in 1940, Britain's top-secret SOE flew Noor into France three years later. She organized cells, invigorated the Resistance, shepherded Allied pilots to safety and outlasted almost all of the SOE's other radio operators – all while on the run from the Gestapo. When she was finally caught, Noor tried to escape twice from a Nazi prison in Paris. Sent to Germany, she was shackled in solitary for ten months, then executed at Dachau. Her last words were "Libertè." 

    Code Name Madeleine brings to life this young mystic who wrote, "The heart must be broken in order for the real to come forth." World War Two broke Noor's heart, and the real came forth. Code Name Madeleine is a story of courage, faith and resilience that is much needed in our own chaotic and shifting age.

    Carefully distilled from dozens of interviews, newly discovered manuscripts, official documents and personal letters, Code Name Madeleine is a compelling, deeply researched history and a thrilling tribute to Noor Inayat Khan, whose courage and faith guided her through the most brutal regime in history.



"An absolutely gripping book. Noor Inayat Khan is brought alive in a way no one else has been able to do." -- Lynne Olson, author of Madame Fourcade's Secret War


 "A singular World War Two tale… Magida fashions a highly original biography of the short, brave life of Noor Inayat Khan, a young woman with a steely will and a strong sense of honor… A harrowing thriller in which a young woman's 'joy of sacrifice' turned to tragedy." – Kirkus Reviews


"Magida delivers a gripping account of a tenacious young woman who demonstrated bravery in the face of extreme

evil." – Booklist


"A tightly plotted spy thriller with an irresistible and improbable heroine at its heart, Code Name Madeline: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris is a missing chapter of the annals of World War II. It highlights the still under-appreciated role women played in defeating Hitler. A rare and rich treat!" – Kati Marton, author of True Believer


"Code Name Madeleine is one of the finest and most affecting true stories of espionage I have read - an engrossing tale of an amazing woman and her immense courage in the face of evil." – Alex Kershaw, author of Avenue of Spies


"Noor Inayat Khan is a woman for our age: a true heroine who faced down evil when she saw it and sacrificed her life for the cause of freedom. Arthur Magida's biography is both a thrilling spy story and a moving portrait of courage." – Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire


"An intimate and compelling portrait of the most extraordinary undercover agent of WWII, Noor Inayat Khan's story is one of courage, heroism and tragedy. Magida's fascinating biography delves deep into the life of this devout Sufi woman whose moral imperative was to fight fascism at all costs – even if that meant putting herself in mortal danger." – Giles Milton, author of Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy


"Arthur Magida's moving account of Noor Inayat Khan's life in the Paris Resistance explores both her courage and her faith. Caught up in a dilemma of ideals instilled as the daughter of a great Sufi teacher, her spiritual response to the violence and propaganda of the Nazis remains deeply relevant." -- Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now


"Thanks to the dexterous work of Arthur Magida, Noor Inayat Khan finally takes her rightful place in world history. Free-spirited, glamorous, devout -  embodying a life of mysticism and the arts - the only Indian woman spy fighting fascism in the golden age of Euro-American spying." 

-- Ruby Lal, author of Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan


"Stunning." "Amazing." "Excellent." "You NEED to know Noor's story and you won't be disappointed. " "Gripping & outstandingly told. Through Magida's skillful & intriguing biography, Noor's determination & idealism lives on." "Couldn't put it down." "An inspiring story, especially in these miserable times." "The last few chapters are excruciating, even if you know what's coming." "Historical non-fiction at its best." "Will become a classic in no time." "One of the most fascinating and detailed books I've read about the SOE." -- Netgalley


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Critics praised The Rabbi and The Hit Man's "compelling, "measured," "stately" tone and its "dense, yet tight pacing... that reads like a top-notch crime novel." One critic deemed the book "required reading in all seminaries." The Rabbi and The Hit Man has been the basis for several television documentaries.

The Nazi Séance

OPTIONED FOR A FILM... A biography of Erik Jan Hanussen, a Jewish stage mentalist who became fatally close to some of the top Nazis.


"Magida weaves a fascinating tapestry of 1920s Berlin - vibrant, corrupt, gilded, brittle, teetering toward Nazi control" -- The Washington Post


"Magida's energy and enthusiasm carry the reader with him as he tells an eerie tale that nobody would ever dare to make up" -- The Jerusalem Report


"An astonishing story, brilliantly told." -- Roger Moorhouse, author of Berlin at War and Killing Hitler