Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception, 1914-1945

3.63 avg rating
( 488 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780571221950: Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception, 1914-1945

By June 1940, most of Europe had fallen to the Nazis and Britain stood alone. To protect itself, the nation fell back on cunning and camouflage. With Winston Churchill in charge, the British bluffed their way out of trouble - lying, pretending and dressing up in order to survive. The British had developed this uncommon talent during the trench and desert fighting of the First World War, when writers and artists created elaborate camouflages and fiendish propaganda. So successful were these deceptions they gave rise to the German belief that they hadn't been beaten fairly - in which case why not 'have a second go'? By the Second World War, the British were masters of the art. Churchill adored stratagems, ingenious devices and special forces: pretend German radio stations broadcast outrageous British propaganda in German. British geniuses broke German secret codes and eavesdropped on their messages. Every German spy in Britain was captured and many were used to send back false information to their controllers. Forged documents misled their Intelligence. Bogus wireless traffic from entire phantom armies, dummy airfields with model planes, disguised ships and inflatable rubber tanks created a vital illusion of strength. Culminating in the spectacular misdirection that was so essential to the success of D-Day in 1944, Churchill's Wizards is a thrilling work of popular military history. Above all, Nicholas Rankin reveals the true stories of those brave and creative mavericks who helped win what Churchill called 'the war of the Unknown Warriors'.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Nicholas Rankin spent 20 years broadcasting for BBC World Service where he was Chief Producer and won two UN awards. His first book for Faber, Dead Man's Chest, followed in Robert Louis Stevenson's footsteps from Scotland to Samoa and was much enjoyed by Graham Greene. His second, Telegram from Guernica, was a widely-praised biography of the ground-breaking war-correspondent and front-line propagandist George Lowther Steer.

Review:


"A delight-filled account...as much an entertainment as history." --Wall Street Journal


"A fascinating new book about British intelligence s deception operations against the Axis powers. --Washington Post SpyTalk


Rankin's page-turner makes the most of the gifted amateurs, eccentrics, and professional illusionists responsible for the imaginative schemes of the British military and details the care and seriousness with which they were implemented. --Foreign Affairs


"There isn't a dull page -- not even a dull sentence -- in Nicholas Rankin's fantastic wunderkabinet of wartime revelations. It is all here -- colonels in drag, midget submarines, corpses with stashed secrets, a black radio station called Aspidistra and more inventions than James Bond's Q could ever conceive -- and is endlessly fascinating in consequence. No better book about the mad arcana of belligerence has ever been written."--Simon Winchester


"Good, rollicking fun."--Max Hastings


"Rankin tells an enthralling, not to say astounding, true-life tale of inflatable tanks and dummy airfields and of pretend radio stations reporting on imaginary armies."--Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman


"Nicholas Rankin's book [is a] hymn to amateur invention and its stunningly professional deployment.... It is a book of marvellous yarns, which will appeal to a far wider readership than the sombre consumers of standard military history. Regimental bores may rail, but it's hard to think of anyone with a taste for human ingenuity being anything other than enchanted and, if British, sneakily proud. Knee in the goolies. Out like a light. Works every time."--Michael Bywater, Daily Telegraph


"A thoroughly entertaining read, helped along by Rankin's engaging style. But it's the characters that keep you hooked."--Jonathan Carter, London Lite


"Nicholas Rankin's well-researched and highly enjoyable book.... [There are] many superb stories of the camouflage, black propaganda, secret intelligence and special forces of the two world wars, which he does very entertainingly indeed."--Andrew Roberts, Daily Telegraph


"Rankin is a great guide to these arts.... [His] enthusiasm for and knowledge of his subject has produced a book replete with anecdote, character sketches and revelations, all embedded in an ability to sketch the military and civilian background with enough clarity to support his narrative and repertoire of characters."--John Lloyd, The Herald


"Mr. Rankin goes poking and probing the lesser-known facts of the two World Wars. What an entertaining journey he provides."--Len Deighton


"A most enjoyable read."--Thaddeus Holt, author of The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War


"This is a story clamouring to be told. During the war we heard rumours, knew there was something called 'camouflage' going on but could not have imagined the scope of the inventiveness, the daring of these people's imaginations. What a galaxy of talents - designers of all kinds, real magicians, the make-up people, dyers, painters and inventors. The theatre and the military created whole armies, ships, navies, aircraft, arsenals of weapons out of shadows and illusions, out of fantasies and clever paint and trickery. I could not stop reading this book once I had begun."--Doris Lessing


"Nicholas Rankin's engrossing book tells the story of the ambitious and complex deceptions perpetrated by the plucky Brits, which contributed to the turning of the tide and the winning of the Second World War.... What makes Churchill's Wizards such an uncommon and arresting read is the detail of these hair-brained schemes. You couldn't make this stuff up. And yet, that's just what Churchill's so-called 'Unknown Warriors' did. With this remarkable book Rankin does them proud."--Miles Fielder, Scotland on Sunday


"If ever a book was meant to have a soundtrack that plays along as you read it, this is it. And that soundtrack should be the theme to The Great Escape, because Churchill's Wizards is packed with tales of derring-do and deception -- tales that in some cases remained hush-hush for decades.... Rankin clearly carried out extensive research for this book and it's paid off. It's fascinating, witty, and will provide you with more anecdotes than you can shake a stick with a papier-mache head at."--Andy Ridgway, Focus Magazine


"Many of the stories...have been told before, but Rankin has enhanced them with recently released papers and diaries. It is very good reading and provides an intimate look at the use of deception and those who made it work. This valuable book gives a new perspective to the history of the warfare and deception." -- Hayden B. Peake, CIA Historical Intelligence Collection


"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Rankin, Nicholas
Published by Faber and Faber (2008)
ISBN 10: 0571221955 ISBN 13: 9780571221950
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Faber and Faber, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0571221955

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 32.75
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Nicholas Rankin
Published by Faber & Faber (2008)
ISBN 10: 0571221955 ISBN 13: 9780571221950
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Faber & Faber, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0571221955

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 38.57
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Rankin, Nicholas
Published by Faber & Faber, U.S.A. (2008)
ISBN 10: 0571221955 ISBN 13: 9780571221950
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Mad Hatter Bookstore
(Westbank, BC, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Faber & Faber, U.S.A., 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Only marking in book is an embossed stamp on flypage otherwise tight and unmarked. By June 1940, most of Europe had fallen to the Nazis and Britain stood alone. To protect itself, the nation fell back on cunning and camouflage. With Winston Churchill in charge, the British bluffed their way out of trouble¿lying, pretending and dressing up in order to survive. The British had developed this uncommon talent during the trench and desert fighting of the First World War, when writers and artists created elaborate camouflages and fiendish propaganda. So successful were these deceptions they gave rise to the German belief that they hadn't been beaten fairly - in which case why not 'have a second go'? By the Second World War, the British were masters of the art. Bookseller Inventory # 006882

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 23.25
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 16.95
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Rankin, Nicholas
Published by Faber & Faber (2008)
ISBN 10: 0571221955 ISBN 13: 9780571221950
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Faber & Faber, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110571221955

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 49.24
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 2.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds