'This was a secret war whose battles were lost or won unknown to the public.... No such warfare had ever been waged by mortal men.' (Winston Churchill)
Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, a country house called The Firs in Buckinghamshire was requisitioned by the War Office. Sentries were posted at the entrance gates, and barbed wire was strung around the perimeter fence. To local villagers it looked like a prison camp. But the truth was far more sinister. This rambling Edwardian mansion had become home to an eccentric band of scientists, inventors and bluestockings. Their task was to build devastating new weaponry that could be used against the Nazis.
Led by the gung-ho Millis Jefferis, the men and women who worked at Churchill's Toyshop, as it became known, devised many of the key weapons of the Second World War. Their prototype limpet mine made possible the Cockleshell Raid on Bordeaux Harbour. Churchill said that this one raid alone shortened the war by six months. Next they pioneered the water bomb that closed the Rhine to German shipping.
Although the team at Churchill's Toyshop proved extraordinarily adept, they were not working alone. Other country houses were also requisitioned and handed over to the specialists. Some focused on developing new weapons; some planned sabotage missions in occupied Europe; some became training schools for agents. But all were working towards a common goal: the destruction of the Nazi war machine. Collectively they were known as the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
©2016 Giles Milton (P)2016 John Murray Press
Yes, excellent, no holds barred account of a period we dont hear about. Superb story, well read too.
Yes. Covered 4,000km road trip across Australia. Top Book. Educational and Entertaining at the same time and highly Enjoyable.
Providing a balance to the many books covering regular military operations about WWII, this book delves, in great detail, into the secret world of sabotage in Nazi-occupied Europe. The book strikes a good balance between the various factors, including details of the organizations themselves and how they began and the political jockeying required to see them come to fruition, to the development of impressively cunning sabotage weapons and the men who invented them, with the book moving on to provide details of the men involved in the undercover and sabotage work, and dramatic and detailed sequences of many of the most interesting operations in enemy territory.
This balance provides for a fantastic listen by both those who are interested in the background to such organizations, and those that relish fast-paced yet detailed accounts of daring missions resulting in destruction of impressive scales.
This book is well read and easy to listen to.
"Humbling and enthralling"
I never tire of hearing tales of sacrifice and commitment made by those in WWII that allow us the freedom to lead the lives we lead today. These tales are made all the more fascinating when you learn of how those selfless acts of bravery were supported by a small army of crackpots and geniuses who dared stand by their convictions and in the face of conventional thinking.
This book covers the people and the operations undertaken in perfect detail. The narration is well suited and the book an easy listen. One of the best audible books I've bought.
"A truly incredible story."
Takes a short while to get going but it takes hold and becomes gripping to the end. I knew so many of the stories contained within but never knew how they were linked to so few people. Story superbly written and fabulously narrated. A top notch purchase.
Should be in every school and public library in the country.
Giles Milton has done an outstanding job.
"Excellent book written like a novel"
Interesting book, but in parts it became too much like a novel and the accents put on did get annoying in parts. That said I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it.
"one of my favorites, simply fantastic"
This is an incredible work of history and one of the most compelling audio books i have ever listened to. Fantastically well researched, delightfully written, and superbly narrated. Absolutely you must listen
"Boys own stuff"
When the chips were down they did as the British always do innovate adapt and surprise showing what a few well motivated men can turn the cause of an entire nation .
A complete picture of the Second World War would be a disservice without this book.
"Brilliant and enthralling"
An excellent book describing the extraordinary escapades of brilliant men and women in world war two.
"Wonderful book of Heroes"
I have not read the print version but the audio version is wonderful.
It would be unfair, and you will see why, to pick any of the main characters and players out as my favourite. The team spirit is what makes their work so brilliant.
I have not. But he was perfect for this book. Very very good job!
It's very emotional in that it makes you very proud that Britain had these people there to help save her. Also it's rather sad at the end.
This is a truly wonderful, interesting book about heroes. The men and women who worked on these projects in secret deserve the credit this book gives them. Britain was lucky to have these smart creative and brave people and the forward thinking Churchill when she most needed it. One of the best books I have listened to. Five stars.
"Probably won't be read or listened to by Americans"
A Fantastic true story. Read well. Full of little known facts. Much to reflect on.
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