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Robin de Wilde (London, United Kingdom)

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The Jail Busters: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho
The Jail Busters: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho
by Robert Lyman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relentless attacks on its diverse and disorganised networks by the Gestapo and the Abwehr had put many of its best operatives in, 8 Sep 2014
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Jail Busters: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho
Lyman, Robert 31 Jul 2014

In the new year of 1944 the French Resistance in northern France was on its knees. Relentless attacks on its diverse and disorganised networks by the Gestapo and the Abwehr had put many of its best operatives in prison, or worse. But in the lead up to Operation Overlord, 'D Day', the Resistance had never been more important to the Allied war effort, and many groups were in the pay of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. One such was organised by a patriot called Dominic Ponchardier. For months he had watched helplessly as his friends and colleagues had been swept up by the Nazi drag net, and cast into the old prison on the eastern outskirts of Amiens. In desperation he asked his MI6 handlers for help, and once London agreed it led to one of the most daring missions of the war.

On the morning of 18 February 1944, nineteen Mosquito bombers flew at low level across the channel, skimming just above the ground to drop their bombs on sections of the walls of Amiens Prison. Hundreds escaped, scores of whom evaded recapture to continue the fight against Nazi repression. It was an epic of precision bombing, in which one of the most notable RAF heroes of the war, Group Captain Charles Pickard, lost his life. Robert Lyman's book reveals, from previously unseen sources, the full truth of MI6's involvement in the French Resistance, and narrates in vivid detail a stirring tale of courage and skill.

Amiens Gaol Raid" (See all 55 results)
The Amiens Gaol Raid Product Details
by Dr J. P. Ducellier (30 Jul 2011)

£58.73 new (4 offers)
£58.73 used (3 by Jack Fishman (11 Feb 1983)

This is a curious story. At midday on 18th February 1944 a force of 19 Mosquito bombers in an amazing feat of flying skill and airmanship attacked Amiens Gaol at very low level, by bombing the walls and the German Guardhouse of the Prison, letting out at least 200 prisoners, some of them significant people in the French Resistance movement, many of whom escaped to be either caught later, or to continue their vital work before D Day and the invasion of France by the Allies.

The question at the centre of the first two books was as to who organised and was responsible for authorising and commissioning the RAF commanders to do what they did. There were various candidates for that authorisation, ranging from the OSS (the American predecessor of the CIA, MI6, SOE, even Operation Fortitude (which organised the deception plans for D Day).

It has now been the subject of three detailed books, the first by Jack Fishman (‘And the Walls Came Tumbling Down ’) in 1983, which was warmly commended by Robert Lyman. The second, which came in two parts, was from Dr J. P. Ducellier (the second and final version entitled ‘The Amiens Raid: Secrets Revealed: The Truth Behind the Legend of Operation Jericho’) This was published in 2011. There was also the TV programme featuring Martin Shaw and his reconstruction of the whole Raid in 2012. The first two books and the TV programme left unanswered too many questions than anyone was able to answer, which dealt this difficult problem as to which body was the instigator of the Raid.

Finally, we have the most recent and convincing enquiry on this aspect written by Robert Lyman, a professional military historian with a serious pedigree of historical research and academic work, who with his book entitled ‘Jail Busters: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho‘. This was published on 31 July 2014.

There are probably still MI6 files held under secrecy, unbelievable as it may seem, some 70 years after this event occurred, which have not been opened to public view. Mr Lyman’s view is that it is highly likely that the Raid was sponsored by MI6. He has been assured by historians of the Secret Services, that nothing has been seen to contradict that view, those who convinced him being those with total authority to examine such Secret Records as still exist.

There are various factors which complicate the position. It was suggested to the RAF commanders that some of those imprisoned were likely to be killed in the course of the Raid. Another feature was that those who took part were told that some of the Resistance figures and others were likely to be shot by the Germans at about mid day on Friday 19th February 1944. It is interesting to learn how brutal those Germans who were in charge in the Amiens area were in the treatment of the French inhabitants. The same Germans were squeamish about admitting the true numbers of those who escaped to their superiors further up the chain of oppression. When subordinates are hesitant to tell the truth to their superiors, you have a fair idea as to what those in the more lowly positions thought about those who were, at that time, above them.

I confess to being satisfied with the answers which Robert Lyman was able to suggest and the conclusions he reached.


The Trial of the Templars (Canto Classics)
The Trial of the Templars (Canto Classics)
by Malcolm Barber
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written academic text, to compliment his previous work in this area, 20 Mar 2014
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Malcolm Barber is one of the foremost English historians on the Knights Templar. His scholarship is reasonable, considering there is much we will never truly know, when we are without the original documents. This is evident in every page that he writes. His conclusions on the final stages of the the Order, before the dissolution, his reasoning on the motives of the interested parties, from Philip IV of France to Clement V, the Pope, are both persuasive and likely to be correct. He also summarises the many other views, held by other scholars in this area. It was a pleasure to read. From the fall of Acre in 1291, their retreat to Cyprus, and the sheer costs and expenses of continuing to do what they did in their heyday, meant the the Knights Templar had lost their original purpose. Others with more venal motives, such as Philip wanted their wealth and in one way Clement V outmanoeuvred Philip of France by transferring most of the Templars wealth, which was in land, to the Knights Hospitaller. If you want to know what happened and why, buy this book and enjoy it.


Y: The Descent of Men
Y: The Descent of Men
by Professor Steve Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating man with a riveting subject, 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Y: The Descent of Men (Paperback)
Professor Steve Jones is Professor of Genetics at University College, London. He has the happy facility of translating some quite complex science into ideas that the layman can understand, even, if you have to read the science part again. The result is that you can end up understanding why we are and what we are and how some of it works. He also surprises the reader with the occasional quirkiness of his similes. I now understand why my sons and grandsons are what they are. Also, you must choose very carefully with whom you decide to breed; and certainly never with your first cousin! All very challenging and interesting, as well as worth reading.


The Rambler (Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson) (The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson)
The Rambler (Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson) (The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson)
by S Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £109.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An attempt to complete the volumes that I already own, 27 Sep 2013
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Dr Johnson is rightly one of the towering figures of English literature. Despite his physical handicaps, he was also one of the seminal figures not only of his own time, but of all time. He was, also, a good man.. Fortunately, he had James Boswell to write what is still the greatest biography in the English language which encapsulates and describes why he was such a great man. Yale have added to that knowledge with their definitive collection of his works. Those works have been graced with scholarly, annotations by Yale University, who have a 'Johnson Factory'. They, too, should be commended what they have done.


Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
by Christopher Hayes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Failure of the Great American Dream, 28 Jan 2013
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When in San Francisco, I heard Christopher Hayes speaking at a a Lecture on the radio. I found a copy of his book there and made the mistake of lending it to a friend. So, I had to buy another copy. This chronicles the failure of the 'American Dream,' based as it is on the idea of 'equality of opportunity'. This, he argues may have been taking place, but there is no 'equality of outcome', in that the the elite, whether with their financial or political power, have become detached from the mainstream and how they have forgotten the base that supports the whole structure of American Society, the ordinary American citizens. He details this failure by exploring how Enron failed, how the drug use destroyed the Baseball League, with other interesting examples. He demonstrates how those with the power and influence have shown that they are more interested in feathering their own nests, rather than having any sense of their moral duties and responsibilities towards others. His argument is that there is more to life than money and power.


Nervous Disease in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain: The Reality of a Fashionable Disorder (Studies for the Society for the Social History of Medicine)
Nervous Disease in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain: The Reality of a Fashionable Disorder (Studies for the Society for the Social History of Medicine)
by Heather R. Beatty
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Historical medicine at its fascinating best., 28 Jan 2013
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As knowledge gives us more understanding of conditions and diseases, it is valuable to look at the record and papers which are the foundation of this work of medical historical scholarship. Today, we believe we understand everything, but that supposition is simply not true. This work, based on a careful study of medical records and case notes of some distinguished medical practitioners of the day, discovered in the archives in Edinburgh, reveals how the practitioners of the period coped and attempted to manage what were the nervous diseases of the day.
There is an aphorism that "to be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always as a child". Heather Beatty has ensured that the Consultant Neurologists of today do not need to be ignorant of what happened before they were born. This is a considerable addition to the historical scholarship for those who wish to avoid ignorance. She is to be congratulated on her work, which has been both diligent and imaginative.


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