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How to Be a Spy: The World War II SOE Training Manual (Secret History Files) Paperback – 1 Apr 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • How to Be a Spy: The World War II SOE Training Manual (Secret History Files)
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  • SOE Manual: How to be an Agent in Occupied Europe
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  • The British Spy Manual: The Authentic Special Operations Executive (SOE) Guide for WWII (Imperial War Museum)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn Group (1 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550025058
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550025057
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 514,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Denis Rigden was engaged in information and historical research for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 30 years. He is the author of "Kill the Fuhrer: Section X" and "Operation Foley," and has in recent years made a study of the SOE.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains the actual lectures delivered to SOE trainees during WWII. The lectures cover everything you can imagine: surveillance, shooting, ambushes, wireless communications, disguises, losing a tail, killing with your bare hands, withstanding interrogation, and more. Tremendous and well worth reading if you're interested in the SOE.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is some fantastic info in here from obs techniques to disguise and interrogation. I've found it a joy to explore. However the lazy publisher need to put in a proper table of contents for future editions as the entire set of files is un-indexed and you will require a set of stickies for your pages if you ever want to find anything useful again!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a historian, but now I'm writing a novel about SOE's activity during the ww2 and this book in very useful
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 16 reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SOE TRADECRAFT SECRETS 15 Dec. 2004
By T.A.L. Dozer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would have given this 5 stars but, the description for this book failed to say that it is the soft cover re-titled, reprinted version of the 2001 hard cover book "SOE Syllabus - Lessons in ungentlemanly warfare, World War II" by Denis Rigden. I have bought so many books that have been reprinted and re-titled and it just fires me up. So be aware so you do not waste unnecessary money like I did. As for the content, the book is declassified training notes, outlines and instruction in the many facets of secret warfare. Some of the subjects are;

Irregular Warfare

Disguise Techniques

Surveillance

Agent recruiting

Burglary

Interrogation

Agent Covers

Agent Cell organization

Resistance

Subversion

Sabotage

Propaganda

Codes And Ciphers

Secret Inks

Fieldcraft and Tracking

Demolitions

Hand-to-Hand Combat

Weapons Training

Physical Training

This is just a sample of the material covered. This book is ideal for researches, historians and military enthusiasts. This is the same program of instruction that the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner to the CIA and Green Berets) was trained with at Camp-X in Canada. Great historical source.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hidden treasure 4 Aug. 2015
By George D. Kenney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is not for a general audience. You've already got to have an interest to find interesting things in it. In my case, after both my parents passed away last year, in their papers I discovered that my mom had worked for the CIA. Something, despite my having been a career US foreign service officer with plenty of exotic security clearances myself, I had not known about. Indeed, according to the form officially recording her separation from the service (an unclassified form) her position was described as an officer in operations. On that basis I filed an FOIA request but the Agency, rather stupidly in my view, reiterated the line that they can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any classified files relating to her. But of course I know they exist because I have a document that proves it!

Anyway, without going into all the gory details, one thing this book contains, which rather surprised me, is photographs of high explosives molded into various "popular Balinese carvings" which were to be pawned off on unsuspecting Japanese and exploded with delayed fuses. Imagine my surprise to find several of these absolutely identical "popular Balinese carvings" in the attic. Except mine are really made of wood. Perhaps a coincidence, but food for thought...

Reading the book or, perhaps more accurately, browsing through it, gives me a little glimpse of the life my mom had had that she never talked about. That's something to be cherished.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is an excellent historical document 1 Jan. 2013
By Chu Te - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a reprint of an actual manual used to train Special Operations Executive (SOE)and Office of Strategic Services(OSS)personnel during the Second World War.

This book is a look at espionage and sabotage training 70 years ago, and it reflects that era.

As a historian and military scientist I can recommend this book to individual World War II enthusiasts, and to students of military and espionage history as a reference and guide which accurately reflects the era and the training syllabus of the period. And I can recommend that every library buy a copy for its collection of accurate works on espionage and military history.

The course work would be similar to that taught by the NKVD and COMINTERN of the Soviet Union, similar to the training of German agents, and similar to that training of the Japanese Nakano Spy School. The book reflects the basics of being a 1930s-1940s spy trained in war time.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Own a piece of history (reprinted) 29 Jun. 2015
By Kent Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exactly what I expected. I saw this on the documentary about the spy training camp, and thought it would be a great piece of history. The book is a scanned image of the original training manual and is printed exactly as it would have appeared in the 1940s. A fascinating look at a part of our history. I recommend it for anyone who is interested in the spy biz or history.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title is misleading. 8 Jan. 2016
By George Kirkman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To begin with the title is misleading. The SOE was not training spies. They were training what amounted to military advisors for resistant fighter. Yes, the book does have a lot of practical and useful information, like how to hide in trees and peek over walls, but it is also has a wealth of information and analysis of the German hierarchy,the German military. the economic and political situation of the world at that time.

Along with all the background information, there is training in leadership and managerial skills. "Everything I learned about business management, I learned from the SOE" :-)

This is not the type of book one sits down and reads cover to cover. This is to browsed, stopping to read topics of interest. It would be a valuable starting point for anyone interested in the wider picture of WWII and not just the battles.
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