THE BROKEN SEAL by Ladislas Farago


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Operation Magic"" was the intelligence network built around America's main breakthrough in anti-Japanese cryptanalysis prior to Pearl Harbor. Farago, well known for books like Patton: Ordeal and Triumph and Burn after Reading, spent four of the war years in the Office of Naval Intelligence. He writes of spydom, government, the military, and their personalities: H.O. Yardley, cipher whiz whose gambling debts drove him to treason; Laurence Safford, who kept the Navy's ""Magic"" door open; the special roles of Hull and Stimson, Gen. Marshall, Adms. Schofield, Stark and Kimmel, ""presidential agent"" Frank C. Walker, Sumner Welles, and especially President Roosevelt (whose advisers, Farago contends, kept him in the dark more often than not), as well as Japanese and European figures of the time. With an extensive bibliography, this seems like a very solid piece of work, insofar as actual events are concerned. However, the foreword, dismissing the ""seven grand inquisitions"" into why America failed to anticipate Pearl Harbor as hawing answered the question ""only tentatively and in a partisan spirit"" stretches credulity. We know after reading just what we knew before: to a democracy, intelligence/espionage is barely palatable, at best. Farago does not speculate whether today, facing a different set of enemies, our attitude has changed.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1967
Publisher: Random House