The Leper Spy

The Leper Spy
The Leper Spy

The Leper Spy

The Story of an Unlikely Hero of World War II
By Ben Montgomery


288 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, PDF, Mobipocket

Cloth, $26.99 (US $26.99) (CA $35.99)

ISBN 9781613734308

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Oct 2016)


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The GIs called her Joey. Hundreds owed their lives to the tiny Filipina who stashed explosives in spare tires, tracked Japanese troop movements, and smuggled maps of fortifications across enemy lines. As the Battle of Manila raged, Josefina Guerrero walked through gunfire to bandage wounds and close the eyes of the dead. Her valor earned her the Medal of Freedom, but what made her a good spy was also destroying her: leprosy, which so horrified the Japanese they refused to search her. After the war, army chaplains found her in a nightmarish leper colony and fought for the US government to do something it had never done: welcome a foreigner with leprosy. This brought her celebrity, which she used to publicly speak for other sufferers. However, the notoriety haunted her and she sought a way to disappear. Ben Montgomery now brings Guerrero’s heroic accomplishments to light.


“Some of the most poignant moments of war lie not in the savage atrocities but the quiet moments of valor risked by the smallest unsung heroes. With the eye of a historian and the soul of a storyteller, Ben Montgomery paints a tender portrait of an unlikely paladin, who turned the curse of her cruel disease into a shield and a sword. We can all learn from this.”—Kim Cross, New York Times best-selling author of What Stands in a Storm

"Written with grace and elegance, The Leper Spy tells a surprising—and affecting—espionage story." —Howard Blum, the author of The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal

"I love this story. I love it when a gap in history is filled in with such a riveting tale, and Montgomery does it here with deep reporting, and fluid, beautiful writing." —Alex Tizon, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Big Little Man

"Once again, Ben Montgomery has unearthed from history a gem of a forgotten story—about war and love, patriotism and sacrifice—and invites us all to gather round for his thrilling tale of an amazing woman." —Thomas Mullen, author of The Last Town on Earth

“Montgomery offers a fascinating tribute to the slight Filipina who courageously saved thousands and chose anonymity.” —Booklist

“The woman’s remarkable story is related with you-are-there lucidity by Ben Montgomery.” —Washington Times

Author Biography

Ben Montgomery is the author of Grandma Gatewood's Walk, a New York Times bestselling title. He is a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times and cofounder of the Auburn Chautauqua, a southern writers’ collective. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 and has won many other national writing awards.