Between Silk and Cyanide

Author: Leo Marks

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 0743200896

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 624

View: 7379


In 1942, with a black-market chicken tucked under his arm by his mother, Leo Marks left his father's famous bookshop, 84 Charing Cross Road, and went off to fight the war. He was twenty-two. Soon recognized as a cryptographer of genius, he became head of communications at the Special Operations Executive (SOE), where he revolutionized the codemaking techniques of the Allies and trained some of the most famous agents dropped into occupied Europe. As a top codemaker, Marks had a unique perspective on one of the most fascinating and, until now, little-known aspects of the Second World War. This stunning memoir, often funny, always gripping and acutely sensitive to the human cost of each operation, provides a unique inside picture of the extraordinary SOE organization at work and reveals for the first time many unknown truths about the conduct of the war. SOE was created in July 1940 with a mandate from Winston Churchill to "set Europe ablaze." Its main function was to infiltrate agents into enemy-occupied territory to perform acts of sabotage and form secret armies in preparation for D-Day. Marks's ingenious codemaking innovation was to devise and implement a system of random numeric codes printed on silk. Camouflaged as handkerchiefs, underwear, or coat linings, these codes could be destroyed message by message, and therefore could not possibly be remembered by the agents, even under torture. Between Silk and Cyanide chronicles Marks's obsessive quest to improve the security of agents' codes and how this crusade led to his involvement in some of the war's most dramatic and secret operations. Among the astonishing revelations is his account of the code war between SOE and the Germans in Holland. He also reveals for the first time how SOE fooled the Germans into thinking that a secret army was operating in the Fatherland itself, and how and why he broke the code that General de Gaulle insisted be available only to the Free French. By the end of this incredible tale, truly one of the last great World War II memoirs, it is clear why General Eisenhower credited the SOE, particularly its communications department, with shortening the war by three months. From the difficulties of safeguarding the messages that led to the destruction of the atomic weapons plant at Rjukan in Norway to the surveillance of Hitler's long-range missile base at Peenemünde to the true extent of Nazi infiltration of Allied agents, Between Silk and Cyanide sheds light on one of the least-known but most dramatic aspects of the war. Writing with the narrative flair and vivid characterization of his famous screenplays, Marks gives free rein to his keen sense of the absurd and wry wit without ever losing touch with the very human side of the story. His close relationship with "the White Rabbit" and Violette Szabo -- two of the greatest British agents of the war -- and his accounts of the many others he dealt with result in a thrilling and poignant memoir that celebrates individual courage and endeavor, without losing sight of the human cost and horror of war.

Between Silk and Cyanide

Author: Leo Marks

Publisher: The History Press

ISBN: 0752471600

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 480

View: 1728


In 1942, with a black-market chicken under his arm, Leo Marks left his father's famous bookshop, 84 Charing Cross Road, and went to war. He was twenty-two and a cryptopgraher of genius. In Between Silk and Cyanide, his critically acclaimed account of his time in SOE, Marks tells how he revolutionised the code-making techniques of the Allies, trained some of the most famous agents dropped into France including Violette Szabo and 'the White Rabbit', and why he wrote haunting verse including his 'The Life that I have' poem. He reveals for the first time the disastrous dimensions of the code war between SOE and the Germans in Holland; how the Germans were fooled into thinking a Secret Army was operating in the Fatherland itself, and how and why he broke General de Gaulle's secret code. Both thrilling and poignant, Marks's book is truly one of the last great Second World War memoirs.

Writing Resistance and the Question of Gender

Author: Lara R. Curtis

Publisher: Springer Nature

ISBN: 3030312429

Category: Social Science

Page: 159

View: 581


This book presents the first comparative study of the works of Charlotte Delbo, Noor Inayat Khan, and Germaine Tillion in relation to their vigorous struggles against Nazi aggression during World War II and the Holocaust. It illuminates ways in which their early lives conditioned both their political engagements during wartime and their extraordinary literary creations empowered by what Lara R. Curtis refers to as modes of ‘writing resistance.’ With skillful recourse to a remarkable variety of genres, they offer compelling autobiographical reflections, vivid chronicles of wartime atrocities, eyewitness accounts of victims, and acute perspectives on the political implications of major events. Their sensitive reflections of gendered subjectivity authenticate the myriad voices and visions they capture. In sum, this book highlights the lives and works of three courageous women who were ceaselessly committed to a noble cause during the Holocaust and World War II.

Last Hope Island

Author: Lynne Olson

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 0812997360

Category: History

Page: 576

View: 9980


A groundbreaking account of how Britain became the base of operations for the exiled leaders of Europe in their desperate struggle to reclaim their continent from Hitler, from the New York Times bestselling author of Citizens of London and Those Angry Days When the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over continental Europe in the early days of World War II, the city of London became a refuge for the governments and armed forces of six occupied nations who escaped there to continue the fight. So, too, did General Charles de Gaulle, the self-appointed representative of free France. As the only European democracy still holding out against Hitler, Britain became known to occupied countries as “Last Hope Island.” Getting there, one young emigré declared, was “like getting to heaven.” In this epic, character-driven narrative, acclaimed historian Lynne Olson takes us back to those perilous days when the British and their European guests joined forces to combat the mightiest military force in history. Here we meet the courageous King Haakon of Norway, whose distinctive “H7” monogram became a symbol of his country’s resistance to Nazi rule, and his fiery Dutch counterpart, Queen Wilhelmina, whose antifascist radio broadcasts rallied the spirits of her defeated people. Here, too, is the Earl of Suffolk, a swashbuckling British aristocrat whose rescue of two nuclear physicists from France helped make the Manhattan Project possible. Last Hope Island also recounts some of the Europeans’ heretofore unsung exploits that helped tilt the balance against the Axis: the crucial efforts of Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain; the vital role played by French and Polish code breakers in cracking the Germans’ reputedly indecipherable Enigma code; and the flood of top-secret intelligence about German operations—gathered by spies throughout occupied Europe—that helped ensure the success of the 1944 Allied invasion. A fascinating companion to Citizens of London, Olson’s bestselling chronicle of the Anglo-American alliance, Last Hope Island recalls with vivid humanity that brief moment in time when the peoples of Europe stood together in their effort to roll back the tide of conquest and restore order to a broken continent. Praise for Last Hope Island “In Last Hope Island [Lynne Olson] argues an arresting new thesis: that the people of occupied Europe and the expatriate leaders did far more for their own liberation than historians and the public alike recognize. . . . The scale of the organization she describes is breathtaking.”—The New York Times Book Review “Last Hope Island is a book to be welcomed, both for the past it recovers and also, quite simply, for being such a pleasant tome to read.”—The Washington Post “[A] pointed volume . . . [Olson] tells a great story and has a fine eye for character.”—The Boston Globe

Code Name: Lise

Author: Larry Loftis

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 150119867X

Category: History

Page: 396

View: 1053


NATIONAL BESTSELLER A Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist Florida Book Awards Silver Medalist Featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, New York Newsday, and on Today! Best Nonfiction Books to Read in 2019—Woman’s Day The Best Nonfiction Books Coming Out This Year—BookBub “A nonfiction thriller.”—The Wall Street Journal From New York Times and international bestselling author of the “gripping” (Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author) Into the Lion’s Mouth comes the extraordinary true story of Odette Sansom, the British spy who operated in occupied France and fell in love with her commanding officer during World War II—perfect for fans of Unbroken, The Nightingale, and Code Girls. The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill. As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues. In Code Name: Lise, Larry Loftis paints a portrait of true courage, patriotism, and love—of two incredibly heroic people who endured unimaginable horrors and degradations. He seamlessly weaves together the touching romance between Odette and Peter and the thrilling cat and mouse game between them and Sergeant Bleicher. With this amazing testament to the human spirit, Loftis proves once again that he is adept at writing “nonfiction that reads like a page-turning novel” (Parade).

Queen of Spies

Author: Paddy Hayes

Publisher: Prelude Books

ISBN: 0715650440

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 320

View: 6503


The only biography of Britain's celebrated female spy – now fully updated with previously classified materials. From being raised in a Tanzanian shack, to attaining MI6's most senior operational rank, Daphne Park led a highly unusual life. Drawing on first-hand accounts of intelligence workers close to agent Park, Hayes reveals how she rose in a male-dominated world to become Britain's Cold War spy master. With intimate, nail-biting details Queen of Spies captures both the paranoia and on-the-ground realities of intelligence work from the Second World War to the Cold War, and the life of Britain’s celebrated female spy.

Resistance

Author: Halik Kochanski

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 014197902X

Category: History

Page: 960

View: 6785


Across the whole of Nazi-ruled Europe the experience of occupation was sharply varied. Some countries - such as Denmark - were allowed to run themselves within tight limits. Others - such as France - were constrained not only by military occupation but by open collaboration. In a historical moment when Nazi victory seemed permanent and irreversible, the question 'why resist?' was therefore augmented by 'who was the enemy?'. Resistance is an extraordinarily powerful, humane and haunting account of how and why all across Nazi-occupied Europe some people decided to resist the Third Reich. This could range from open partisan warfare in the occupied Soviet Union to dangerous acts of insurrection in the Netherlands or Norway. Some of these resistance movements were entirely home-grown, others supported by the Allies. Like no other book, Resistance shows the reader just how difficult such actions were. How could small bands of individuals undertake tasks which could lead not just to their own deaths but those of their families and their entire communities? Filled with powerful and often little-known stories, Halik Kochanski's major new book is a fascinating examination of the convoluted challenges faced by those prepared to resist the Germans, ordinary people who carried out exceptional acts of defiance.