If you are interested in the S.O.E. — Special Operations Executive, the secret branch of government Winston Churchill created during WW II to fight the Nazis through espionage and spycraft — then Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat Paperback is the book to read! It covers how the S.O.E. was founded, the ingenious and courageous leaders who conceived and started it all, and several daring missions S.O.E. agents undertook to change the course of the war.
Although the S.O.E. conducted many successful missions, not all were successful. Giles Milton’s telling of how things went in the war only glosses over the fact that many times S.O.E. agents parachuted directly into Nazi hands and were captured within seconds of hitting the ground, frequently due to intercepted communications and compromised agent and resistance fighter cells.
Despite this lack of “the full story”, this book is a treasure trove of great information and inspirational true stories. It really highlights the impact secret agents and guerillas operating behind enemy lines had in the outcome of the war, which likely would have gone on much longer and at the cost of millions of more lives without their heroic and ingenious efforts.
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