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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too big to swallow!, 15 Jan 2014
By 
Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret Agent's Pocket Manual: 1939-1945 (Hardcover)
When this book first arrived, I thought it was one of those joke titles of the sort aimed at schoolboys with their abiding interest in such subjects. Instead, I found an incredible product packed with fascinating information.

The work commences with an informative and illuminating introduction by Dr Stephen Bull in which he explores the role of the secret agent in history and explains how and why so many people of all nationalities became involved in such clandestine operations during WW2. Whereas many books and movies have portrayed - both factually and fictionally, the heroic deeds of British and American agents parachuted into mainland Europe, it was the overwhelming early successes of Hitler's invading armies which led to so many other affected people also becoming involved. Consequently, English language instruction booklets containing various lessons and tricks of the trade were published and then translated into whatever languages suited those different nationalities. This is a faithful reproduction of the official Pocket Manual issued at that time.

The product contains details of just about everything someone employed in serious, secret and clandestine activities might need to know and, as such, makes for excellent reading. How to survive underwater, hiding your transmitter, creating hand and pedal generators (for powering that transmitter!), secret inks, how to encourage malingering amongst enemy forces and workers and, amongst so many other items, exploding cigarettes and lessons in hand-to-hand combat are all included.

Whereas we can now regard this book as something of a fun item, it really was the training manual of the day for those involved in a type of warfare which meant automatic death for being a spy if ever they were discovered - as so many were.

The only problem I have with the entire product is that it is a bit too big to swallow if caught!

NM
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The Secret Agent's Pocket Manual: 1939-1945
The Secret Agent's Pocket Manual: 1939-1945 by Stephen Bull (Hardcover - 31 Oct 2013)
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