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106 Reviews
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different take on a nowadays popular topic
Every other book written about cryptography has, for me, been overly serious and thus tends to be very hard to become immersed in. This is where Leo Marks' excellent account of his exploits in SOE differs. He tells his amazing, moving and tragic story with a wonderful sense of humour that allows the reader to become involved in the agents he describes. Marks very cleverly...
Published on 8 Dec 2000

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars beale norman
probably the best book I have read as an adult I have given only three stars as my kindle wont accept the other two. a truly brilliant book. hurry up amazon and make it abailable on kindle.
Published 21 months ago by beale Norman


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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read !!, 30 July 2014
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This review is from: Between Silk and Cyanide: A Code Maker's War 1941-45 (Kindle Edition)
This book in its entirety is both humorous and serious in the right places. It should be read by any fan of SOE and certainly any budding cryptographers. It ties up a lot of loose ends in SOE history and should not be bypassed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 22 Oct 2014
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T. G. Robertson (Staffs) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent book covering issues we all think we know something about but in reality we know very little. I found it compelling reading, bringing to life some of the characters we are aware of only as distant names.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Code-breaking, 28 Jun 2012
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This is a fascinating account of code-breaking and related activities during World War 2. In addition to being informative, it is humorous. I don't know if the book would mean much to today's readers, but as someone who lived through that period and recognized many of the names, it was revealing. Actually, I think some of the current generation SHOULD read it as , in some ways, it is a forerunner of today's electronic products. Also, for anyone interested in undercover activities in wartime, it makes an interesting comparison with today's "spies". This is a book which we have given to other people, who have reacted favorably to it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 12 Feb 2012
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Mr. R. D. M. Kirby "Dick Kirby" (Suffolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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Right from Chapter One, with its clever, amusing and often sardonic wording, Leo Marks' book grips all the way through. His obsession to develop and improve the codes of SOE agents comes through loud and clear. Leo Marks was an amusing companion, with his flashing eyes and crushing handshake - and he was exceptionally secretive; I was one of the few people outside his immediate circle permitted to know his home telephone number.

Before the two appendices which finish the book, I loved the story of the kindness which Marks displayed to the terminally-ill boy; that was so like him. He wrote a dedication which included Violette Szabo's code poem, to my wife in her copy of the book.

Why his massive contribution to this clandestine work at which he was so brilliant was never recognised in the Honour's List is beyond me. He's sadly missed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling..., 4 Dec 2011
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I loved this. There were times when I was so involved with the people and the danger they were in that I could only read it in coffee shops where I couldn't be spooked. My attempts at trying to follow the decoding instructions were disastrous! The brains, bravery and sheer chutzpah of the people...... no wonder we won the war. It makes you proud to be British - and how often do we get to feel like that? Read it. It's better than anything a novelist could invent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unsung Heroes, 18 July 2014
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If you have any interest in WW2 then get this book as a holiday or bedtime read. Unsung heroes or what?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Aug 2014
An excellent read, full of interest. Beautifully written.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - but not this version, 23 Oct 2010
As with all the other reviewers I agree this is a fascinating book well worth the read and of obvious interest to anyone who wants to find out more about code-making and code-breaking during the Second World War.

Unfortunately for those of us in the 'older generation' with failing eyesight the size of type in this edition makes it quite hard going unless you are reading under good light and - even worse - I have never encountered a book with so many typographic errors: misprints, missing punctuation and sentences that don't make sense. It would be wrong to say there are errors on every page, but there are at least a couple in every chapter, which is pretty annoying. There is even one section where a code is being explained and the letter-transposition (which is quite clear in the diagram) is described incorrectly in the text. Perhaps there is a hidden challenge here that you have to be a potential code-breaker to read the book?

Overall - highly recommended, but don't buy this edition.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reading, 27 Jun 2013
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Quite an intensive book. Goes into code breaking rather deep. Makes it a bit heavy reading dinar parts. Otherwise enjoyable,
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed edition of a marvellous book, 28 April 2012
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This is one of the most startling, moving, funny and admirable books that I have ever read. It is also one of the worst proof-read. Please check your edition carefully before you buy - lives have been lost for less.
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