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

The Secret War Spies Codes and Guerrillas 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 on

  • Title: The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945
  • Author: Max Hastings
  • ISBN: 9780007503742
  • Page: 350
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 WaExamining 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.

    One thought on “The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945”

    1. I was really looking forward to this book as I love things about the Second World War and the world of espionage is endlessly fascinating. The book is vast and well researched. It covers the work of spies in Britain, the US, the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Japan. Hastings is at pains to play down the glamour of spy work and describes how dull most of it was. He seems to have a predudice against the Soviet Union which he regards as a greater evil than Nazism. Many people at the time did not sh [...]

    2. The Lloyd Report on German oil resources estimated that by December 1940 the aerial bombing campaign had achieved a 15% cut in German oil availability. This would have been news to the Nazi leadership, who at the time were unaware that the allies were engaged in a systematic bombing campaign. Intelligence on the state of the German economy, as Max Hastings discusses in The Secret War was one of the weakest areas, little helped by the all-important interception and decryption of Axis communicatio [...]

    3. Interesante si te gusta todo l referente a la IIGM, pero no está al nivel de otros de sus libros. Reiterativo hasta llegar a cansar.

    4. Shelves-full of history books have been written about the triumphs of Allied intelligence in World War II. The Ultra Secret. The Man Who Never Was. Operation Mincemeat. Agent Zigag. Double Cross. A Man Called Intrepid. I’ve read all these and more. (There are hundreds more.) Now comes British journalist and historian Max Hastings with a revisionist view in The Secret War. With his eyes focused on the harsh realities of that all-consuming conflict, Hastings debunks the myths that inspired these [...]

    5. I expected this to be interesting tales of spying, code-breaking, and other aspects of war behind the front lines. Unfortunately, after the prologue it seemed to become a list of who spied for whom, why, who they used, and how they died. I tired of it after the first 60 pages or so.The prologue was quite interesting. It puts forward a number of opinions of the author's and others' about spying and code-breaking that are hardly complimentary. One went so far as to say that all the intelligence wo [...]

    6. very detailed history of spying and signal intelligence during the second world war. What struck me and I find hard to understand is what it takes to be spy undercover. That state of mind would seem very hard to sustain. Being friends or even lovers of people you are out to betray. I would have a hard time being friends with someone just to ruin them or feign allegiance to something while tirelessly trying to undermine that very thing. It must be a very weird state of mind to act in such a role. [...]

    7. Hastings' magisterial and epic overview of the secret war which underlaid the Second World War is a tremendous and essential single volume with much in it for the general reader as well as for those with greater knowledge.He examines, with typical fluency and great style, the global conflict with special emphasis on codebreakers, spies and guerillas.I was particularly pleased to see the emphasis given to German successes in reading British codes, an area often overlooked.As Hastings puts it: "Hi [...]

    8. Max Hastings’ courage in tackling a one-volume history of the covert battles of the Second World War as his first foray into the world of intelligence is beyond doubt. To a large extent he succeeds. His usual mix of anecdote and overview, combined with even-handed treatment of the main participants, produces an accessible introduction to the subject. He does not attempt to replicate the libraries already written on, for example, the Cambridge Five or the workings of Bletchley Park but looks in [...]

    9. A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting read. Despite my possessing a good number of books on espionage in WW2, Sir Max brings cases to light that I'd never heard of. As usual the author redresses the imbalance away from the Western allies, but his verdicts show how intelligence gained was often, particularly amongst the dictatorships, ignored or misinterpreted.

    10. Well researched, well written, but I felt I grasped his main points in the introduction. At a hundred pages in, I realized I didn't want to read 900 more.

    11. Hastings contends in his preface to this quite detailed history that the contributions of espionage were not significant in WWII, at least not without factoring in the political will and military prowess to exploit any intelligence. He avers that perhaps only “one-thousandth of 1 per cent of material garnered from secret sources by all the belligerents in World War II contributed to changing battle field outcomes.” Yet that tiny fraction was of immense value.Nevertheless, he provocatively co [...]

    12. This is a fascinating and very well written book about a much neglected aspect of the second world war: intelligence. Like all Max Hastings books it is readable and very enjoyable, well paced, and doesn't shy away from drawing conclusions and making hard judgements. Most of these were quite convincing. The balance between analysis, outlining the broad sweep of events, and recounting more detailed and specific anecdotes is about right.I was particularly struck by how much of the intelligence effo [...]

    13. Really interesting as it debunks some of the romantic notions that people have picked up about the world of spies and guerrilla fighters: humit especially with all of its follies and amature carrying on.It is especially hard on SOE and OSS, which were very expensive and not very effective. Found it funny that OSS was made up of mainly wealthy kids and corporate types, who seemed to be more interested in liberating colonial peoples and over throwing governments run by dictators they didn't like t [...]

    14. The Secret War by Max Hastings is a most thorough and detailed chronicle of code breaking, spying and sabotage activities behind enemy lines in all the theatres of the Second World War. Beyond the odd cursory mention, the better-known stories of the 'secret war,' Fortitude, Mincemeat, Eddie Chapman are not covered, having been dealt with in greater detail elsewhere but the work at Bletchley Park is rightly celebrated as being central to the Allies eventual victory.Fascinatingly, Hastings tells o [...]

    15. Err My God! Another WW2 book?! I, like many people have started ask how many more WW2 books can we bare? The whole drama (biblical in scale in might be) seems thoroughly desiccated when it comes to learning new things. HOWEVER, Max Hastings has written an extremely engrossing book that details a never ending stream of nuggets and tidbits of heretofore unknown aspects of the espionage war including new takes on some widely hyped stories about the "cloak and dagger" and covert war between the wari [...]

    16. (Audiobook) A major compilation by a noted historian focusing on multiple aspects of intelligence activities during World War II, this work is fully loaded with facts and accounts. Hastings covers the gambit from the evolving world of signals intelligence (SIGINT) and code-breaking to stories of classic spying and espionage to the relatively new world of special operations. It focuses on activities from combatants from both sides of the conflict, with further analysis on the intelligence activit [...]

    17. -Disparidad de sensaciones.-Género. Historia.Lo que nos cuenta. Con el subtítulo Espías, códigos y guerrillas 1939-1945, acercamiento al espionaje, la parte del león, desde los protagonistas en el campo hasta las ventajas técnicas para su desempeño y pasando por los diferentes grupos que afrontaron la tarea en distintos escenarios, más una aproximación breve (por simple comparación volumétrica con la otra parte) a las acciones de guerra irregular que se dieron en la Segunda Guerra Mun [...]

    18. Hastings has done a huge amount of research on the matter of spies, codebreaking and guerrilla war during WWII. There's much here that has not previously seen the light or is usually overlooked. It's a bid turgid and requires additional time and contemplation to absorb. Please also note that Hastings isn't complimentary of these "secret" means of warfare during that conflict: he draws the conclusion that almost none of it had a real impact on the war.

    19. Max Hastings is one of the most notable historians of the World Wars working today, since the passing of John Keegan. He has written good books on WW1, WW2, and a host of other subjects. I heard about this book in 2016 but was persuaded to read it after visiting the exhibit on "The Secret War" at the Imperial War Museum in London, which I believe he was involved in.The intent of this book is to place the "secret war" including human intelligence, signal intelligence, partisan forces, and various [...]

    20. This one was a slog and a half, and I almost didn’t finish it. That, however, doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. This I will explain. Max Hasting’s The Secret War is a compendium on the many elements of espionage that took place during the Second World War. It goes through painstaking detail to explain the odds and ends of the spy trade, from electronic warfare, human intelligence and secret operations behind enemy lines. By and large the book makes an incredible effort to dispel the many r [...]

    21. Examining the espionage and intelligence stories of World War II, on a global basis, bringing together the British, American, German, Russian and Japanese histories.Here are not only Alan Turing and the codebreaking geniuses of Bletchley Park, but also their German counterparts, who achieved their own triumphs against the Allies. Hastings plots the fabulous espionage networks created by the Soviet Union in Germany and Japan, Britain and America, and explores the puzzle of why Stalin so often spu [...]

    22. A detailed and interesting book that gives a history of espionage in World War Two. A book that explores both allied and axis intelligence gathering. Well written and never shies away from the horror of the field agents who would be tortured and then executed. Then there are those sequestered working long hours to decrypt codes. To then find that their intelligence is ignored like those in Bletchley who warned about Arnhem in 1944.Sadly secrecy prevailed in the post war period, and those who wor [...]

    23. Max Hastings has done a prodigious amount a research to produce this fascinating if flawed study of the role of espionage and codes in WWII. There is much of interest to be learned here, but the reader is cautioned to be aware of the real limits of this book. While much attention is paid to the extraordinary espionage effort of the Soviet Union, the book is significantly skewed towards the checkered contribution of the various British intelligence agencies. Italy barely gets a mention, and Japan [...]

    24. Max Hasting book deals with as the full title suggests spies, codes and guerillas during world war II, it's in the title, people Between the stories of the spies and missions, there is also some op-ed by Hastings himselfIt does lose a star for Hastings' description of other neutral states being "much more important" than Ireland. That gave my ego a hammering :(. No seriously, I jest. Overall this is an interesting read. There is a lot of detail in it and I liked this book. I found it best as a n [...]

    25. Wonderfully researched and worthwhile compendium of WWII espionage and code-breaking. Difficult to enjoy as a narrative because of the sheer number of personalities introduced and their self-evidently shady and doubtful stories. Bletchley Park and the breaking of Ultra features heavily and rightly so, but if there is one thing that repeatedly leaps from the book it is how little sigint actually influenced operations in relation to the sheer volume of available traffic. First the signal has to be [...]

    26. I enjoyed this book, although it is a little bit messy. It tells the history of the secret services in the Second World War. I found a little bit hard to follow all the names and groups that appear in several non-subsequent chapters. As expected, a lot of space in the book is dedicated to Bletchley Park. I enjoyed to learn about the disputes between the several services: apparently the MI6 had the SOE in very low esteem. I also was pleased to find more details of the life of Richard Sorge, a spy [...]

    27. Bit of a hodge podge as Hastings skips around the gigantic world of WWII intelligence operations, from spies to codebreaking to resistance fighting. Not sure that Hastings' heart was really in it but felt compelled to tick this box in his history of WWII. He is skeptical throughout of the gains provided by intelligence gathering, not least because of the ongoing problem of interpretation and the tendency to overvalue intelligence obtained through dangerous, clandestine means. Reading the newspap [...]

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