Secret War (ePub)
The Story of SOE - Britain's Wartime Sabotage Organisation
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 breath-taking political naivety, operational incompetence and ruthless manipulation. Despite the heroism of individual agents who suffered appalling privation to further the organisation’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 authorised 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 organisation that existed for less than six years but was to have a lasting impact on the world’s post-war development.
The SOE has an awesome reputation, of course, but author Nigel West strips its reputation bare and reveals the true history of the occasional failures and mistakes. On balance, the successes and the attempts outweigh the follies and the heartache, though, and as one who revelled in the adventures of people such as Violette Szabo, I found this account of the SOE particularly engaging and fascinating.Books Monthly
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Featured by Seb Palmer hereSeb Palmer, A Question of Scale, July 2019