Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945


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Today's Nonfiction post is on The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945 by Max Hastings. It is 700 pages including notes and is published by Harper Collins. The cover is like folder with a red x in the center. The intended reader is someone who is interested in World War 2 history and spies. There is foul language, talk of sex, and violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Examining the espionage and intelligence stories in World War II, on a global basis, bringing together the British, American, German, Russian and Japanese histories.
There were two Second World Wars: one fought on the battlefields, and another conducted by men and women few of whom ever fired a weapon in anger, but whose efforts vastly influenced the conflict.
‘The Secret War 1939-45’ examines that other war waged by British, American, German, Russian and Japanese intelligence-gathering personnel. Moving chronologically through the conflict, Max Hastings charts the successes and failures of allied and axis forces, espionage and counterespionage.
Observing how the evolution of electronic communications dramatically increased the possibilities and significance of these secret battles, this is the story of intelligence beyond Bletchley to the FBI, Russia and the spies of axis dictatorships. For the first time since his best-selling ‘All Hell Let Loose’, Max Hastings returns to the Second World War, this time to chronicle its second, untold story.


Review- This is a very detailed book about spies and who they worked for from just before the beginning of the Second World War  until the end. But the details are too much and the story gets lost in them. At times the story would come back with interesting characters and background information but then the details would get it bogged down. The notes are excellent resources if you want to do more research on your own but after reading this book I think that I know enough at this time. It was interesting reading about how badly undervalued the intelligence groups were but still they some how managed to work and help with the war effort. There are some great quotes about who to bomb first and how badly everyone worked together. Looking at it now, it is amazing how far we have come in the spy game.

I give this volume a Two out of Five stars. I was given this book by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.