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Churchill And Secret Service Paperback – 3 Feb 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New edition edition (3 Feb. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349112797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349112794
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,715,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A first-rate and, what is more remarkable, an original contribution to Churchilliana (KIRKUS REVIEWS)

an excellent and long overdue book (LITERARY REVIEW)

a startlingly good book (SPECTATOR)

a fascinating narrative and a scholarly exegesis (SUNDAY TIMES)

Book Description

* Winston Churchill omitted almost every reference to secret intelligence from his war memoirs. David Stafford fills that gap.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 20 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
I thought long how to describe this book as it covers unbelievingly wide range: from the Churchill's fascinating personality, his approach to various problems during all important periods of his life, to masterful description of the most important events of the first half of the 20th century, both political and military. Development of secret services, relations among them and towards Churchill add to the extraordinary extent of this work.
Though having read the book I haven't understood how Mr. Stafford managed to put so many facts in one book only, even more to write it in so vivid way. (Just to illustrate the extent of the work - only bibliography covers unbelievable 17 pages!).
I have been interested in the 20th century history (especially the WWII period) since being a boy and I have to admit this is the best book I've read about the topic. It is definitely "the must" for every scholar or fan of the modern history, Churchill's personality, secret services' history or World War II.
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Lord Jenkins, in the introduction to his latest book on Churchill, admits that his is one of 50-100 different books on Sir Winston's life and that presumably excludes Churchill's own prodigious output. So, the scope for casting new light on a very well covered subject is limited by definition. Churchill was a politician first and a recorder of history second, he believed strongly that history is written by the victor.

This leaves a number of niche subjects involving Churchill that bear further investigation and Mr Stafford seems to have struck a plum one. Churchill was obsessed with intelligence and Stafford shows this trait in him from an early age. Plenty of facts, not many new but well sourced, intertwine with a well-balanced overall view of WW2. The whole is easy reading, has a good pace and is informative and enjoyable.

I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in early 20th century espionage or WW2 or Churchill himself.
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excellent account of how intellegence gathering during the wars made all the difference, and how it was used to favour churchills
way he wanted people react to good or bad news
he had his favourite advisors but usually relied on his gut feeling
thank god he was more right than wrong fascinating read recomend to anyone interested in how codes and codebreakers
made war not just about battles but intelligence and how it was handled
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Obviously much of the material here could not have been published until the 60's - if then. And some is already familiar, such as Churchill's connection with "Room 40" in the Great War (for which I heartily recommend Barbara Tuchman's "Zimmerman Telegram"

To a modern generation Churchill's genuinely aristocratic background, his rolling prose and classical English will seem, alas, so old-fashioned as to be almost inaccessible. But this book makes clear that in vital issues, intelligence and "Sigint", he understood their utmost importance. This ensured Britain's survival in 1939-41 and contributed enormously to victory, indeed it might not have been possible without it. Britain's strategic situation in 1940 was, on the face of it, absolutely hopeless. But Churchill could see the chink of light that intelligence would provide. Hitler did not, thankfully.

There are still lessons here for the West, as its material power to confront new challenges declines
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This book gives an insight to Churchill's early political meddling in secret affairs and is well signposted with historical events. The reader will finish the book considerably more knowledge of world events during the first half of the 20th Century.
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A bit plodding and, at times, repetitive. It's entirely possible that WSC gave the secret services little or no thought as such (borne out by a couple of observations in this book), but expected them to deliver what they were paid for. Looks like he was largely disappointed; served by, variously, career civil servants, weirdos and charlatans. A good enough read, but not exactly a page-turner.
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A remarkable insight into Churchill's life and times. The double-edged sword of Intelligence is vividly demonstrated, and is as politically potent today as in the World
Wars of Churchill's experience. I now have a much greater appreciation of Churchill's huge burden of responsibility,
his energy and political bravery at a time of life when most people would have been enjoying quiet retirement.
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I have not read much of this book yet but I'm sure it will be an excellent read. I'm old enough to have lived through the second world war and much information was kept secret until quite recently so I will look forward to learning more about the Services described in this book.
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