BODYGUARD OF LIES by Anthony Cave Brown


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A narrative of intelligence coups during WW II, which Brown sees as a fight against the upstart Hitler led by an alliance between American football players and that ""group of men who represented the aristocratic cream of a caste of blood, land and money."" As everyone knows, the football players took almost everything after the war, but at least until D-Day the British upper class played a decisive role in the sphere of intelligence and counterintelligence. Brown begins with the 1938 reproduction of the German code machine, a coup so devastating that Churchill reportedly forbade warnings of Luftwaffe attacks against Coventry lest the Germans suspect the code-breaking. Fifty thousand homes were blitzed; however, the British did sacrifice the code secret to trap the battleship Bismarck. Other Allied triumphs are familiar but well-told. Camouflage and double bluffs at E1 Alamein; the Special Operations Executive undercover work in occupied Europe. A high point is Operation Bodyguard, the decoy of the Wehrmacht away from the Allies' Normandy landing sites--these deceptions were perhaps less decisive than Brown suggests, since vast numbers of German troops had been transferred to the Eastern front. Brown also bestows exaggerated praise on Admiral Canaris' attempts to stop Hitler and aid the British, promoting Canaris to a ""deeply moral and tragic"" figure rather than the intelligent and wholly guilty Nazi collaborator that he was. A rich source in a perennially demanded genre.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1975
Publisher: Harper & Row