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SOE Syllabus: Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare World War II (Secret History Files) Hardcover – 1 Nov 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 426 pages
  • Publisher: Public Record Office; 1st edition (1 Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190336518X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903365182
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.1 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 915,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Above all, do not get yourself parachuted behind enemy lines without reading SOE Syllabus -- The Guardian

Synopsis

In the early years of World War II prospective agents for the Special Operations Executive were trained in the black arts of camouflage, sabotage and subterfuge. This training took place in a variety of requisitioned country houses all over Britain, from Arisaig in the highlands of Scotland to Beaulieu Manor in the New Forest. This volume reproduces the extensive training manuals used to prepare agents for their highly dangerous missions behind enemy lines. The courses covered a variety of clandestine skills including disguise, surveillance, burglary, interrogation, close combat and assassination. In short, everything needed to wreak havoc in occupied Europe. Denis Rigden's introduction sets the file in its historical context and includes stories of how these lessons were carried out on actual wartime missions.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By DW on 30 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
England, 1939, and the war is already not going well. PM-to-be Churchill complains that the War Office "would rather lose the war under Queensbury Rules [the rules of gentlemanly boxing] than win by any means necessary".
This book is a fascinating, easily accessible window on the world of the WW2 spy, consisting of the actual training notes issued by the SOE's secret camps and their inventive methods of "ungentlemanly warfare".
Covering everything from how to burgle an enemy's office (with advice from "reliable criminal sources") to martial arts ("it is not necessary to kill or injure your sparring partner, as no credit will be awarded for this..."), the tone is forthright, practical and peppered with wry British forces humour that will frequently have you laughing out loud.
Essential reading for any prospective covert agent and a tribute to the brave men and women who fought the hidden war.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "stephenhinson" on 4 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
You know the old saying, 'All's fair in Love and War'. And I can gurantee you that after reading this book you'll truly understand at least half of it.
It gives the reader a great insight of what an SOE agent did and what he/she was there to achieve. Victory by subversion and sabotage. Whether that be assasination, implenting cells of passive resistance, blowing up power plants and factorys, just how they were trained to do it is right here.
Instructions on disguise, coding, explosive preperation, unarmed combat and even the preperation of invisble inks is presented in the fashion it would have been received by the SOE trainees. It really shows what these people were willing to do and the dangers they were willing to subject themselves to in order of the ultimate goal.
Victory.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Jan. 2003
Format: Hardcover
In addition to what has been pointed out elsewhere I would like to point out that the section on hand-to-hand combat (known here as "Silent Killing") is some of the best, and shortest, material ever written on the subject; far above the "self-defense" of today. It could, in a way, be called the "missing manual" to Fairbairn's more generally known "Get Tough."
Apart from being useful, I think that it is the section on silent killing that best captures the essence of the reality in which the agents lived and worked, a cold and brutal reality. By reading it you will appreciate what they did, and what war is all about.
And, as has been pointed out previously, it also serves as a memorial to those brave men and women to whom we all owe so much.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Sept. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Fascinating! This book is a transcription of the complete SOE training manual. The typeface and layout is exactly as it would have been turned out on a spirit duplicator and then issued to the trainee agents. For anyone with even just a passing interest in the period and the subject this book is a must. Apart from curiosity value this manual is an important historical document and a memorial to those men and women who served their countries so well.
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