From one of the foremost historians of the period and the acclaimed author of Inferno and Catastrophe: 1914, The Secret War is a sweeping examination of one of the most important yet underexplored aspects of World War II - intelligence - showing how espionage successes and failures by the United States, Britain, Russia, Germany, and Japan influenced the course of the war and its final outcome.
Spies, codes, and guerrillas played unprecedentedly critical roles in the Second World War, exploited by every nation in the struggle to gain secret knowledge of its foes, and to sow havoc behind the fronts. In The Secret War, Max Hastings presents a worldwide cast of characters and some extraordinary sagas of intelligence and resistance, to create a new perspective on the greatest conflict in history.
©2015 Max Hastings (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
Extremely tedious. If I was working on my history PhD and needed a detailed source for names and dates, this would be useful, but not as something to listen to ad nauseam. Good reference book for the shelf, not good as an audio book. Steven Crossley did the best he could with the material he had to work with.
It's unusual for an author to write so much on a subject and conclude that it really wasn't all that important, but that is basically Hastings' thesis. The book looks at espionage and code breaking from the perspective of both the Allied and Axis powers. With the exception of a few cases such as Ultra and the intelligence gained by the US Navy before Midway, spying really did not alter the course of WWII. Either the intel was ignored because it was buried in a surfeit of data or conflicted with political ideology, or countries simply did not have the physical power at the critical point to alter the military outcome. This is a good read nevertheless. It resonates with current-day limitations in combating terrorism. There is a lot of minutia that is instantly forgotten and the book bogs down in spots, but the lives of spies are varied and interesting even if what they did contributed very little to the course of history.
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