A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars

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"The Story of how the British really won two world wars - by canning the Kaiser, hoaxing Hitler and using brains to outwit brawn." By June 1940, most of Europe had fallen to the Nazis and Britain stood alone. To protect itself, the nation fell back on cunning. With Winston Churchill in charge, the British bluffed their way out of trouble - lying, pretending and dressing up in order to survive. 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. Nicholas Rankin reveals the true stories of those brave and creative mavericks who helped win what Churchill called 'the war of the Unknown Warriors'.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195387049
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/10/2009
  • Pages: 466
  • Sales rank: 698,411
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Rankin is the author of Telegram from Guernica and Dead Man's Chest. He lives in London.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1 The War of Nerves 3

2 The Nature of Camouflage 24

3 Engineering Opinion 34

4 Hiding and Sniping 49

5 Deception in the Dardanelles 60

6 Steel Trees 77

7 Guile and Guerrilla 94

8 The Twice-promised Land 109

9 A Dazzle of Zebras 125

10 Lying for Lloyd George 142

11 Deceivers Deceived 160

12 Wizards Of WW2 177

13 Curtain Up 201

14 Winston is Back 211

15 Hiding the Silver 226

16 'A Great Blow Between the Eyes' 233

17 Commando Dagger 246

18 British Resistance 254

19 Fire Over England 278

20 Radio Propaganda 285

21 'A' Force: North Africa 312

22 Impersonations 336

23 The Garden of Forking Paths 353

24 The Hinge of Fate 360

25 Mincemeat 373

26 The Double 384

27 Overlord and Fortitude 392

28 V for Vergeltung 409

Epilogue 414

Source Notes 421

Index 445

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 6, 2011

    great story

    A great recording of the estsblishment and advancement of British military deception.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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