The Secret War LP: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerillas, 1939-1945

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9780062441560: The Secret War LP: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerillas, 1939-1945

Examining the espionage and intelligence stories of World War II, on a global basis, bringing together the British, American, German, Russian and Japanese histories.

Spies, codes and guerrillas played critical roles in the Second World War, exploited by every nation in the struggle to gain secret knowledge of its foes, and to sow havoc behind the fronts. In ‘The Secret War’, Max Hastings presents a worldwide cast of characters and some extraordinary sagas of intelligence and Resistance, to create a new perspective on the greatest conflict in history.

Here are not only Alan Turing and the codebreaking geniuses of Bletchley Park, but also their German counterparts, who achieved their own triumphs against the Allies. Hastings plots the fabulous espionage networks created by the Soviet Union in Germany and Japan, Britain and America, and explores the puzzle of why Stalin so often spurned his agents, who reported from the heart of the Axis war machine.

The role of SOE and American’s OSS as sponsors of guerrilla war are examined, and the book tells the almost unknown story of Ronald Seth, an SOE agent who was ‘turned’ by the Germans, walked the streets of Paris in a Luftwaffe uniform, and baffled MI5, MI6 and the Abwehr as to his true loyalty. Also described is the brilliantly ruthless Russian deception operation which helped to secure the Red Army’s victory at Stalingrad, a ruse that cost 70,000 lives.

‘The Secret War’ links tales of high courage ashore, at sea and in the air to the work of the brilliant ‘boffins’ at home, battling the enemy’s technology. Most of the strivings, adventures and sacrifices of spies, Resistance, Special Forces and even of the codebreakers were wasted, Hastings says, but a fraction was so priceless that no nation grudged lives and treasure spent in the pursuit of jewels of knowledge. The book tells stories of high policy and human drama, mingled in the fashion that has made international bestsellers of Max Hastings’ previous histories, this time illuminating the fantastic machinations of secret war.

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About the Author:

Max Hastings is the author of numerous books, many about warfare, including the bestselling and critically acclaimed ‘All Hell Let Loose’. In his early career as a correspondent, he reported on the 1982 Falklands War, experiences which he described in his memoir ‘Going to the Wars’. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary Fellow of King's College London, he was knighted in 2002.

Review:

‘This is his war and he writes with an easy assurance, scatter-gunning opinions … Hastings is on form. He has set out to provide thought and discussion and, with his familiar robustness, shotgun at side, he has succeeded’ The Times

Praise for Max Hastings:

‘A work of staggering scope and erudition, narrated with supreme fluency and insight, it is unquestionably the best single-volume history of the war ever written … what makes his book a compelling read are the human stories … at the end of this gruesome, chilling but quite magnificent book, you never doubt that the war was worth fighting’ Sunday Times

‘No other general history of the war amalgamates so successfully the gut-wrenching personal details and the essential strategic arguments. Melding the worm’s eye view and the big picture is a difficult trick to pull off – but Hastings has triumphed’ The Times

‘Majestic … it is impossible to emerge without a sense of the sheer scale of human tragedy … To gather all these anecdotes together is a task in itself, but to assemble them in a way that makes sense is something entirely different … Hastings shapes all these stories, almost miraculously, into a single coherent narrative’ Daily Telegraph

‘In this massive work, the crowning volume of the 10 impressive books he has written about the Second World War, Sir Max Hastings spares us nothing in portraying the sheer bloody savagery of the worst war that the world has yet seen … this magnificent book … is hypnotically readable from the first page to the last’ Sunday Telegraph

‘A fast-moving, highly readable survey of the entire war … Hastings combines a mastery of the military events with invariably sound judgment and a sharp eye for unusual telling detail … this is military history at its most gripping. Of all Max Hastings’s valuable books, this is possibly his best – a veritable tour de force’ Evening Standard

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