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Review: The Secret War: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945

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The Secret War: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945
The Secret War: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’re looking for some different to read about World War II, this is definitely a good choice. Hastings has written a wonderful history of espionage and intelligence during World War II. He covers the efforts of the major players on both sides chronologically, analyzing their performance objectively and fairly. More importantly, he not only looks at what happened but how it impacted the War, emphasizing that what was collected intelligence wise was only as good as how it was used. He also shows that having the intelligence is useless if you don’t have the means to act on it. He covers those generating the intelligence, in the case of signals intelligence (SIGINT) the systems used to collect it, how it was used by military leaders, and how it was used by civilian leadership. Speaking of SIGINT, if you’re a radio hobbyist this is definitely a book to put on your reading list. This was a fascinating and highly interesting read because Hastings didn’t stop at detailing what was done by intelligence agencies, agents, and operatives but delved into how the intelligence was used. This definitely isn’t the first book you should read about World War II, because you need to have basic background on the War, but it should definitely be on your reading list about the War!

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1 Comment

  1. truthspew says:

    I consider that era in time the most fruitful one in history. The perfection of the vacuum tube, the invention of the transistor and the applications to which both were put is just short of incredible.

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