This is an ideal book for collectors or for those who want something just that bit different. Cleverly presented in a boxed sleeve this hardback book is well illustrated, full of facts and contains fascinating reproductions of secret war-time archive material tucked away in buff coloured envelopes between the pages.
Written by researcher and historian Michael Smith the book presents an introduction to espionage, codebreaking and covert operations during the Second World War.
Each section is clearly titled and well illustrated providing a balanced mix of facts complemented by those ‘archive envelopes’ containing evidence of covert operations, letters, memos, directives, photographs, identity cards and deciphered messages.
In preparation Smith covers the setting up of the British Secret Intelligence Service(s), MI6 under its first chief Mansfield Smith Cummings, and that of MI5 under Vernon Kell, bringing both services from 1923 up to 1939.
Following Naval, Military and Air Intelligence he introduces Winston Churchill’s obsession with intelligence and the men and women behind scenes. He highlights the Battle of the Atlantic, the North Africa campaigns and the daily battles of the members of the Government Code & Cypher School trying to break into the enemy Enigma and Lorenz ciphers.
He follows the development of the Double Cross system and introduces the reader to, amongst others, Eddie Chapman (Agent Zigzag) together with a reproduction of his identity card. He explains the aims of Operation Mincemeat, providing reproduction copies of the false information planted on the body of ‘Major Martin’ which were used to deceive the enemy.
With the setting up of Special Operations Executive, he describes some of the covert operations undertaken by its agents in Central Europe, the Middle East and the Balkans, once again providing copies of archive evidence.
Other subjects covered in this book are as follows - the work undertaken by MI9 and the Special Forces, the secrets behind the D-Day landings and German intelligence.
Through the skills of a good writer and supported by copies of archive materials as evidence, Smith presents an interesting, distinctive and highly informative publication.