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`Rankin goes poking and probing the lesser-known facts of the two World Wars. What an entertaining journey he provides.' - Len Deighton
`A story clamouring to be told...I could not stop reading this book once I had begun.' - Doris Lessing
Thaddeus Holt, author of The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War A most enjoyable read.
Churchill's Wizards (fiction)
Nicholas Rankin (Author)
customer reviews (Yes)
Print List Price: £10.99
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Reviews from Amazon:
being pre-WW1 born I had read previous accounts of some of the ideas and their applications. But found this book pulled things together in one place, explaining the background in a useful way.
`Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception 1914 - 1945' describes British military deception in two World Wars: the roles of the intelligence services in grand and smaller deception plans. Guerilla warfare, double agents, black propaganda, camouflage and even sniping are all covered.
I found the principles and practice of camouflage and the contributions of painters very interesting. The author describes the roles in the development of deception of well known military figures such T E Lawrence and General Wavell, but also presents the activities of people more famous in other walks of life.
These include the authors John Buchan, Ian Fleming, Dennis Wheatley, George Bernard Shaw, HG Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle! Together these interwoven threads of history made a thoroughly enjoyable read for me.
The one minor frustration I found came from the title of the book. This implies the involvement or `ownership' of Winston Churchill in the majority the work. I spent the first half of the book anticipating some revelation of his critical involvement in the development of deception in WWI, but it never came! In fact it was apparent from the book that WSC had little or no involvement in the deception activities relating to WWI.
His involvement in the heart of the story - deception - only became clear about two-thirds of the way through the book, once WWII was well under way, after which our heroes - the Wizards - could truly be described as `Churchill's' because of his direct contributions and patronage. Despite the slightly misleading title I found the book informative, well written and hard to put down.
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