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War of Shadows: Codebreakers, Spies, and the Secret Struggle to Drive the Nazis from the Middle East

War of Shadows: Codebreakers, Spies, and the Secret Struggle to Drive the Nazis from the Middle East

by Gershom Gorenberg

Narrated by Fred Berman

Unabridged — 14 hours, 22 minutes

Gershom Gorenberg
War of Shadows: Codebreakers, Spies, and the Secret Struggle to Drive the Nazis from the Middle East

War of Shadows: Codebreakers, Spies, and the Secret Struggle to Drive the Nazis from the Middle East

by Gershom Gorenberg

Narrated by Fred Berman

Unabridged — 14 hours, 22 minutes

Gershom Gorenberg

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Overview

In this World War II military history, Rommel's army is a day from Cairo, a week from Tel Aviv, and the SS is ready for action. Espionage brought the Nazis this far, but espionage can stop them-if Washington wakes up to the danger.

As World War II raged in North Africa, General Erwin Rommel was guided by an uncanny sense of his enemies' plans and weaknesses. In the summer of 1942, he led his Axis army swiftly and terrifyingly toward Alexandria, with the goal of overrunning the entire Middle East. Each step was informed by detailed updates on British positions. The Nazis, somehow, had a source for the Allies' greatest secrets.

Yet the Axis powers were not the only ones with intelligence. Brilliant Allied cryptographers worked relentlessly at Bletchley Park, breaking down the extraordinarily complex Nazi code Enigma. From decoded German messages, they discovered that the enemy had a wealth of inside information. On the brink of disaster, a fevered and high-stakes search for the source began.

War of Shadows is the cinematic story of the race for information in the North African theater of World War II, set against intrigues that spanned the Middle East. Years in the making, this book is a feat of historical research and storytelling, and a rethinking of the popular narrative of the war. It portrays the conflict not as an inevitable clash of heroes and villains but a spiraling series of failures, accidents, and desperate triumphs that decided the fate of the Middle East and quite possibly the outcome of the war.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

10/19/2020

Journalist Gorenberg (The Unmaking of Israel) explores the battle for North Africa and the Middle East during WWII in this richly detailed yet somewhat impenetrable history. Weaving Middle Eastern politics with the history of cryptography, profiles of Allied and Axis codebreakers, and technical descriptions of battlefield campaigns, Gorenberg at times bites off more than he can chew. The story culminates in Erwin Rommel’s ill-fated drive into Egypt in the summer of 1942, despite waning supplies and a lack of military support. Gorenberg reveals that Rommel based his plans on cables sent by Bonner Fellers, military attaché at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, that were intercepted and deciphered by Italian and German spies using U.S. military code books and cipher tables stolen from a consul’s office in Rome. But the information, which was colored by Fellers’s frustrations with British military leaders, drew Rommel into a disastrous defeat at the Second Battle of El Alamein. Gorenberg gathers a wealth of intriguing material, but occasionally loses the thread of the narrative amid the jumble of military acronyms and the large cast of characters. This deeply researched account is best-suited to WWII completists. (Jan.)

From the Publisher

"Vivid...fascinating...sure to be among the year's best histories of World War II."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Richly detailed...deeply researched account."
Publishers Weekly

"A solid analysis of how espionage impacted an important theater, this book should appeal to anyone interested in World War II history, particularly intelligence operations."—Library Journal

“A groundbreaking work.”—The Jerusalem Post

War of Shadows is a fascinating look at the politics of the Middle East, a region that would explode after the war, written with a thriller writer’s sense of character and timing.”—Shepard Express

“A breakthrough book by Gershom Gorenberg featuring uncovered secrets from World War II reveals how easily the war could have gone the other way…In an effort of meticulous historical research, Gorenberg has pieced together the intelligence saga behind the war for North Africa.”—Haaretz

“A masterpiece of scholarship and synthesis…The highest praise that can be bestowed on his book is that it will remind readers of a cloak-and-dagger tale by John Le Carré with an armature of fascinating historical annotation.”—The Washington Post

“The deeply researched book brims with anecdotes and rich details… shedding much needed light on a long-overlooked period and part of the war.”—Times of Israel

“A fast and gripping read."—New York Journal of Books

“The story grips you so much that it’s hard to put aside: the extraordinary spying in both directions, the vivid characters, the huge stakes, and all of this on a World War II front that American readers know surprisingly little about.”—Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost

“With the pacing of a spy thriller… War of Shadows takes us to the brink of disaster as the Allies and Axis powers vie for control of the Middle East…. Gorenberg belongs to a unique cadre of journalist historians.”—Sarah Wildman, author of Paper Love

“A dazzling and groundbreaking portrait of a crucial moment in WWII… Gorenberg has produced a vital new account of one of the key episodes of the last century.”—Matti Friedman, author of Spies of No Country

“With an eye for detail and personality quirks, Gorenberg reveals the complicated interplay between codebreakers, diplomats, and soldiers to provide a fresh account of the battle for control of Egypt in World War II.”—Meredith Hindley, author of Destination Casablanca

“The book is a must for scholars, the text replete with many hundreds of annotated sources. For the ordinary reader it offers a thrilling spy story encompassing intelligence gleaned both from human sources and Sigint (signal intelligence) sources that played critical roles in determining the ultimate outcome of key battles for the future of the region. The style is captivating, engaging our intelligence and moving us emotionally. If you cannot fathom this or that intricate page – do not stop! Just carry on and you will be rewarded in full for your effort.”—Efraim Halevy, Fathom

Library Journal

12/01/2020

During the Second World War, Axis and Allied forces engaged in total warfare on many fronts. In this latest work, Gorenberg (The Unmaking of Israel) examines the intelligence war in the Middle East. The story begins in early 1942 and carries through 1943 when Allied forces finally drove the Axis from the North African theater. Gorenberg does well in adding snippets of the larger war in order to keep the Middle East situation in context. The ongoing conflict between Erwin Rommel's German and Italian Afrika Korps and Claude Auchinleck's, and later Bernard Montgomery's, British 8th Army provides the immediate backdrop for the primary events. Gorenberg discusses the significance of Polish codebreakers that cracked Germany's advanced Enigma system and the roles various British, German, American, Italian, Hungarian, and Egyptian agents played in code breaking and intelligence operations. He includes the treatment of Jews in the Middle East, mentioning how early reports of mass executions in Europe were met with disbelief even among the Jewish community. The book concludes with brief summaries of the postwar lives of the story's major players. VERDICT A solid analysis of how espionage impacted an important theater, this book should appeal to anyone interested in World War II history, particularly intelligence operations.—Matthew Wayman, Pennsylvania State Univ. Lib., Schuylkill Haven

Product Details

BN ID: 2940177731698
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication date: 01/19/2021
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews