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The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-45 Max Hastings

The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-45 - Max Hastings

London: William Collins, 2015, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper.

Contains: Black & white photographs; List of sources; Photographic end papers & blanks;

From the cover: “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 roles of SOE and America’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 Russian lives.

Readers will meet Bill Tutte, the young Cambridge mathematician who deserves to be almost as well known as Turing for his part in enabling Bletchley Park to break the Nazis’ most secret teleprinter cipher. Hastings tells how a Hollywood film star parachuted into Yugoslavia, where he turned communist, and shows that Britain’s notorious traitors ‘the Cambridge Five’ were vastly outnumbered by hundreds of Americans, many in top government jobs, who betrayed secrets to Stalin.

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’s previous histories, this time illuminating the fantastic machinations of secret war.”

Size: 9½" x 6¼". Grey boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [XXVII] 612 pages.

This one has already found a new owner.