Thursday, 8 March 2018

Hastings, Max "The Secret War"

Hastings, Max "The Secret War: Spies, Codes And Guerrillas, 1939–45" - 2015

A highly interesting book if you are interested in this subject.

We always hear about the battles of a war, more rarely about what is going on behind the scenes, in this case, what did the secret agents or spies (depending on which side you were, the first lot was always your own, the second that of the enemy) do during World War II? What were their successes, what their downfalls?

The author has collected an immense treasure of details and put them all together, the book almost reads like a spy story itself. There is so much in it, if you don't study this at university, you probably will not want to go into so much detail but you can always decide what to retain and what not.

Brilliant book. Brilliant writing.

From the back cover:
"In The Secret War, Max Hastings presents a worldwide cast of characters and extraordinary sagas of intelligence and Resistance to create a new perspective on the greatest conflict in history. The book links tales of high courage ashore, at sea and in the air to the work of the brilliant ‘boffins’ battling the enemy’s technology. Here are not only the unheralded codebreaking geniuses of Bletchley Park, but also their German counterparts who achieved their own triumphs and the fabulous espionage networks created, and so often spurned, by the Soviet Union. With its stories of high policy and human drama, the book has been acclaimed as the best history of the secret war ever written."


  1. I am putting this on my list of good reference books. I'v gotten interested in spies and intelligence lately. In fact, I said to my husband the other day, everyday there are spies spying all over the world. It is true what you say. We only hear about the battles.

    1. I always think if something interests us, it's the best time to start reading more about the subject. I once read somewhere that if you read about anything for seven years, you have as much knowledge as someone who studied it. Don't know whether that is true but you can surely lear a lot just from reading books.

      And especially books like these that don't just talk about certain dates etc. that we had to learn in school. They make history so much more interesting, make it what it really is, tell us how people lived before us and hopefully learn from their mistakes.