• The Secret War

  • Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945
  • By: Max Hastings
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 30 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (293 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about The Secret War

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A decent book but not great

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I expected more detail in the way of the technical info. This book is unlike other from Hastings in it's tone and it really doesn't suit audio format as you will forget which theatre/belligerent is the focus of each chapter while you pause.

Specifically I wanted to hear about certain aspects of the US/Japanese code war in the Pacific. No mention of the Navajo code talkers etc

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Better read than listened to

This is one of those books that you can better read than listen to. The subject matter is very well treated, the narrator does a well enough job, but a there's a lot to ingest and a regular need to look back a few pages at a name or a date. And that, as we all know, is rather difficult with an audiobook.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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a very comprehensive history of secret warfare.

a bit long but a good narration. Tons of stories about every angle of WWII.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Tedious

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.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Archival recitation but good.

Recitation for much of the book which made me feel like I was right there at The Archives with the author. the final few chapters were better than the first few chapters. The ending chapter was an excellent recap which I enjoyed more than any other

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Complete, entertaining and deeply researched.

Simply a joy from beginning to end. Entertaining, broad, deep and filled with anecdotes and personal fates and stories.
Pretty much a complete story on the subject.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A wonderfully detailed account

Max Hastings is as well researched and written as ever. My 4 star comes from the subject material, which I didn't realize was so slanted toward the Soviets. Again, no one's fault, but there were just so many Soviet agents running around I couldn't help but feel at times like this was the history of Soviet spying in WWII.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Some interesting stories, poorly organized

I love WWII history and very much appreciated this contribution. I think it would have been better to read this book, though. The complexity of the intertwined stories precluded presentation in a strictly chronological order. When listening to the book, the dates jumped around a lot and it was much more difficult to keep things straight in your head. Reading would probably have made this much easier. The narration was strong. The best part was about the spy ring that obtained US nuclear secrets. That would probably make a great book on its own.

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  • ZS
  • 06-05-20

Good Book

Very informational, flowed well.

A few shots at modern US policies that dampen the the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great synthesis of WWII new and old info

Any WWII student must read this. E.g.. USA decrypts vs. Bletchley Park decrypts, and human int. vs. signals int. vs HARD POWER!!!!