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Secret War: The Story of SOE - Britain's Wartime Sabotage Organisation

Secret War: The Story of SOE - Britain's Wartime Sabotage Organisation

by Nigel West


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What did SOE really achieve during the Second World War? Why were so many agents parachuted into enemy hands? Who chose to back Communist guerrillas in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Greece and Malaya in preference to other anti-Axis movements? In this new and revised edition Nigel West strips away the secrecy that has surrounded the Special Operations Executive since it was officially wound up in 1946, and reveal the breathtaking political naivety, operational incompetence and ruthless manipulation. Despite the heroism of individual agents who suffered appalling privation to further the organization's dubious objectives, there is an underlying tragedy of dreadful proportions.

Secret War is a detailed analysis of SOE’s structure and performance and describes its successes and failures across the globe. The book casts doubt on the official histories authorized by the Cabinet Office and offers evidence of the setbacks that jeopardized D-Day and gives an account of the paramilitary units dropped behind enemy lines immediately after the invasion which saved SOE’s reputation.

This book is a highly provocative but authoritative history of the organization that existed for less than six years but was to have a lasting impact on the world’s postwar development.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526755667
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 07/26/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

NIGEL WEST is an intelligence expert and critically-acclaimed author. Such is his depth of knowledge in these fields that The Sunday Times noted that, 'His information is often so precise that many people believe he is the unofficial historian of the secret services. His books are peppered with deliberate clues to potential front-page stories.’ In 1989 Nigel was voted 'The Experts' Expert' by The Observer.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

1 The First Two Years 1

2 A Branch of the Secret Service? SOE in the Middle East 44

3 Suspicion and Misgiving: Scandinavian Operations 68

4 'Der Englandspiel': SOE in Holland, Belgium and Czechoslovakia 83

5 A Deep and Abiding Jealousy: French Operations 100

6 A Hot Humid Summer: SOE in North Africa and the Balkans 130

7 Pass Down the Blame: SOE in Greece 156

8 Exorbitant Cost: The Oriental Mission 173

9 Too Many Plans: The India Mission 184

10 Bitter and Unfruitful Arguments: SOE in South-East Asia 195

11 Clandestine Bodies: SOE in 1944 218

Conclusion 246

Appendix I SOE's Organisation, Structure and Personnel 255

Appendix II SOE's Special Training Schools 266

Appendix III Jedburghs 269

Source Notes 273

Index 284

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