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‘As gripping as any spy thriller, Hastings’s achievement is especially impressive, for he has produced the best single volume yet written on the subject’ Sunday Times ‘Authoritative, exciting and notably well written’ Daily Telegraph ‘A serious work of rigourous and comprehensive history ... royally entertaining and readable’ Mail on Sunday
The author of The Kompromat Conspiracy reveals the truth behind Great Britain’s secret World War II group. What did SOE really achieve during the Second World War? Why were so many agents parachuted into enemy hands? Who chose to back Communist guerrillas in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Greece and Malaya in preference to other anti-Axis movements? In this newly revised edition, Nigel West strips away the secrecy that has surrounded the Special Operations Executive since it was officially wound up in 1946, and reveal the breathtaking political naivety, operational incompetence, and ruthless manipulation. Despite the heroism of individual agents who suffered appalling privation to further the organization’s dubious objectives, there is an underlying tragedy of dreadful proportions. Secret War is a detailed analysis of SOE’s structure and performance and describes its successes and failures across the globe. The book casts doubt on the official histories authorized by the Cabinet Office, offers evidence of the setbacks that jeopardized D-Day, and gives an account of the paramilitary units dropped behind enemy lines immediately after the invasion, which saved SOE’s reputation. This book is a highly provocative but authoritative history of the organization that existed for less than six years but had a lasting impact on the world’s postwar development. “Secret War is important, even necessary in political terms.” —Financial Times
In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek - the head of China's military academy and leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) - began the `northern expeditions' to bring China's northern territories back under the control of the state. It was during this period that the KMT purged communist activities, fractured the army and sparked the Chinese Civil War - which would rage for over twenty years. The communists, led by General Mao Tse-Tsung, were for much of the period forced underground and concentrated in the Chinese countryside. As the author argues, this resulted in China's war featuring unusually high levels of espionage and sabotage, and increased the military importance of information gathering. Based on newly declassified material, Panagiotis Dimitrakis charts the double-crossings, secret meetings and bloody assassinations which would come to define China's future. Uniquely, The Secret War for China gives equal weighting to the role of foreign actors: the role of British intelligence in unmasking Communist International (Comintern) agents in China, for example, and the allies' attempts to turn nationalist China against the Japanese. The Secret War for China also documents the clandestine confrontation between Mao and Chiang and the secret negotiations between Chiang and the Axis Powers, whose forces he employed against the CCP once the Second World War was over. In his turn, Mao employed nationalist forces who had defected - during the last three years of the civil war about 105 out of 869 KMT generals defected to the CCP. This book is an urgent and necessary guide to the intricacies of the Chinese Civil War, a war which decisively shaped the modern Asian world.
An authoritative and groundbreaking contribution to the study of Australian colonial history, this record reveals little-known information about a brutal police force of Aborigines that operated under the command of white officers on the Queensland frontier during the 19th century. Arguing that these native patrols—which are charged with killing large numbers of indigenous people in Australia—were a key part of a colonizing tactic used successfully across the the British Empire, this examination exposes native involvement in the white settlement of Australia, the cover-up of the murders by the native police forces, and the approval of the killings by government officials of the time.
“A treasure trove for historians . . . A real addition to Civil War history” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). At the end of the American Civil War, most of the intelligence records disappeared—remaining hidden for over a century. As a result, little has been understood about the role of espionage and other intelligence sources, from balloonists to signalmen with their telescopes. When, at the National Archives, Edwin C. Fishel discovered long-forgotten documents—the operational files of the Army of the Potomac’s Bureau of Military Information—he had the makings of this, the first book to thoroughly and authentically examine the impact of intelligence on the Civil War, providing a new perspective on this period in history. Drawing on these papers as well as over a thousand pages of reports by General McClellan’s intelligence chief, the detective Allan Pinkerton, and other information, he created an account of the Civil War that “breaks much new ground” (The New York Times). “The former chief intelligence reporter for the National Security Agency brings his professional expertise to bear in this detailed analysis, which makes a notable contribution to Civil War literature as the first major study to present the war’s campaigns from an intelligence perspective. Focusing on intelligence work in the eastern theater, 1861–1863, Fishel plays down the role of individual agents like James Longstreet’s famous ‘scout,’ Henry Harrison, concentrating instead on the increasingly sophisticated development of intelligence systems by both sides. . . . Expertly written, organized and researched.” —Publishers Weekly “Fundamentally changes our picture of the secret service in the Civil War.” —The Washington Post