Saturday, March 22, 2014

CLANDESTINE CAPERS: SPIES AND WORLD WAR II



Spies. Secret Agents. Espionage. The words pique our appetite for real-life thrillers. In the last few years there have been some terrific books on Allied spies during WW II and some of these great titles can be found on the shelves at the Monrovia Public Library. So curl up for suspense with masters of deception and cunning. 

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory is a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story. Two eccentric British intelligence officers fool the Nazis about where the Allies will invade Europe by dropping a corpse into the ocean, knowing it will wash ashore with misleading information attached. Wonderfully well written, fun to read and with an incredible cast of characters, this winning book makes history come to life.

 

Did you know England spied on the United States leading up to World War II?  Roald Dahl (yes, that Roald Dahl who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is just one of the secret agents in The Irregulars:  Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant. It's the story of a group of English citizens living in our nation’s capital whose job it was to influence the powers-that-be to stop being isolationists and go to war, thus helping the Brits. 



A hot new book on the bestseller list is Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen. It's not about WWII, but about what occurred afterward when the Cold War was starting. Because American intelligence knew that German scientists loyal to the Third Reich (some accused of war crimes) were responsible for advances in rocketry and biology, knowledge the U.S. needed, the scientists and their families were secretly invited to live here and work for our government. The book about this odd and morally questionable spy program prompts readers to ask if the ends justify the means. The author did an incredible job researching this little known chapter in American history. 

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