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Between Silk and Cyanide: A Code Maker's War 1941-45 by [Leo Marks]

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Between Silk and Cyanide: A Code Maker's War 1941-45 Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 360 ratings

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Length: 634 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled
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Amazon Review

Twenty-three is awfully young to find yourself with the power of life and death...Leo Marks failed the examination to go and work on codes at Bletchley by being just too good and too much of a smart aleck. Instead, he was imposed on a not entirely willing Special Operations Executive (SOE) to teach coding to agents dropped into Europe and to decode the sometimes indecipherable messages they sent back at great risk to their lives. His speeches to his staff on the mortal danger of slowness or carelessness are classics of guilt-tripping. Absence of mistakes made him suspect that the Germans had captured SOE's Dutch agents--his youth and personality meant that his superiors were slow to believe him. In his spare time, he revolutionized cryptography by inventing one-time-only pads, and wrote poems for agents to use as keys--including the poem associated with Violette Szabo, "Odette".

This is a moving memoir of the agents like Odette and Noor Inayat Khan, whose fates we already know and whom he tried in vain to protect. This is a powerful memoir of war, responsibility and guilt; Marks, hitherto famous as screenwriter on Peeping Tom and son of the 84 Charing Cross Road family, has written a classic. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.


The New York Times Book Review [A] spellbinding real-life thriller....A compelling insider's view to the shadow war: intrigue and treachery, double-dealing and deception, hope and despair, triumph and tragedy.

Richard Bernstein The New York Times An enthralling book, one full of an eccentric charm as well as fascinating, previously undisclosed details of the secret war waged in the occupied countries.

Ken Ringle The Washington Post A welcome and powerfully affecting chapter of World War II history, and a very human story of the most clandestine and cerebral art of making war.

Martin Scorsese A mesmerizing account of World War II as fought on the home front in Great Britain by the ingenious codemakers whose work determined the life and death of the Allied agents in occupied Europe. Leo Marks, a brilliant cryptographer, is a masterful and passionate storyteller. I was immediately swept into his secret world of codes and "undecipherables," trying at times (without success) to unravel the puzzles myself, and found it difficult to put down the book until the drama had come to an end. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • File Size : 1837 KB
  • Print Length : 634 pages
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Publisher : The History Press; UK ed. Edition (1 July 2012)
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Language: : English
  • Customer reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 360 ratings
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