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Churchill's Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WWII Paperback – 2 Oct 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 210 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Oct 2014
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; UK Airports edition (2 Oct. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848668538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848668539
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 423,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A truly astonishing story' Weekend Sport. (Weekend Sport)

'An enjoyable, thought-provoking read' Soldier Magazine. (Soldier Magazine)

'One of the most extraordinary stories of World War II is also one of the least commonly known ... compelling ... an eloquent and welcome tribute to their selfless, sometimes reckless courage - a howitzer of a tale that more people should know about' Brian Viner, Daily Mail. (Daily Mail)

Book Description

The thrilling untold story of Churchill's private army. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
YOU wouldn’t expect Special Forces personnel, living and carrying out their violent business behind enemy lines, to have the greatest of life expectancies. Officially non-existent, they live off their wits and the often evil terrain, sneaking up on the baddies in their own dens and despatching them with ruthless efficiency…or being taken out themselves.
Mid-20s, early 30s maybe? Well, a major source of this incredible book is Jack Mann, a WWII veteran of 92 and a hero who was in at the start of what was then a totally new kind of warring. This is his story, his and the merry band of ‘pirates’ cobbled together on the orders of Winston Churchill to go out and give the Nazis hell.
And it’s almost unbelievable, like a real-life Commando comic drawn by an artist on the hard stuff. These men, amazingly all volunteers for ‘death duty’, lived, fought and acted at the extremes. The wild eccentrics of the Special Operations Executive, also known as known as the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, caused havoc throughout Europe and North Africa, assassinating and sabotaging, and finding and firing up resistance to the Axis armies.
It’s a truly astonishing story, one which you think you might have come across many times before, but that’s because you’ve seen the films. Jack Mann and his mates were the terrifying real thing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book inspiring. The men whose story is told here must be regarded as true heroes. I found the portrayal of Anders Lassen particularly compelling, a true leader of men and only in his mid-20s. I was humbled by what these men did in their selfless fight against Nazi tyrrany. A superbly written account and a great read, a real treasure. Well done Damien Lewis.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The thrilling story of Anders Lassen and his irregular soldiers on their extraordinary, daring missions in the Second World War. Culminates in the action at Comacchio, a month before the end of the war, for which Lassen was awarded a VC. Pacey and full of incident. Only four stars because I would have liked more detail in the form of maps, documents, pictures of places etc. as well as people, and I found the writing a little thin, in that I prefer first-hand accounts, which I usually find more engaging.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A deep, dark secret from World War II finally emerges. No less than Winston Churchill devises and authorizes a unit that is a combination of present-day Army Rangers and Delta Force. They go deep behind enemy lines to wreak havoc and destroy enemy morale. They did it very well. Damien Lewis tells history in a manner more exciting than any action film. He is a gifted storyteller who keeps you on the edge of your seat for hundreds of pages.

WARNING: do not start this book at a normal bed time. You'll be up all night reading "just one more chapter"!
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Format: Paperback
I don't read military history that often, but the title of this book was too good to pass up, and let's face it, the shenanigans of unconventional units during World War II remain irresistible even some seventy years later. Like a lot of popular military history, the action described is fascinating and the writing is not the best.

This is the story of how British created a "deniable" special force under the Special Operations Executive to run the equivalent of black ops during World War II. It's not entirely clear, but this unit functioned kind of like the Special Boat Service, as far as I can tell (not being well-versed in all the intricacies of the various units). In any event, this history is pegged to a larger-than-life soldier who was in at the formation of the first unit, present for its greatest triumphs, and was killed in action near the end of the war. The book is very much the story of Anders Lassen (VC,MC), a Danish volunteer who had all the bearing of a modern-day pirate.

Through him, the reader is taken through the first mission at Fernando Po (aka Bioko) off the coast of present-day Cameroon, then some dirty work in the Channel Islands, before moving to a wide range of raids across the Greek islands (including a particularly spectacular airfield raid in Crete), and then finally a calamitous mission as part of the Allied push up Italy. The exploits are very engaging, the bravery astonishing, the personalities colorful -- perhaps all best summed up by the kind of nonstandard after action reports Larsen would file: ""Landed, killed Germans, f****d off." Solidly entertaining read for WWII buffs.

Note: This book was published under a slightly different title in the US: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill's Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bravery almost beyond belief. The story of Anders Lassen, one of the greatest soldiers - ever. Thank God he fought for Britain in WW2
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Format: Paperback
Brilliant . A true story of just what a few very brave men can achieve. I am left wondering just what they got up to after the war's end, the reference to some 'housekeeping' must surely warrant another book but then it was probably all illegal by then and the lawyers would crawl out of their holes to make money from it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hard to believe this actually happened, had to keep reminding myself it was not a work of fiction, expertly written. Those guys were either completely mad or the most brave of men, either way, nice to know they were on our side and we all owe them our gratitude.
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