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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth, in this case, is more than stranger than fiction
"Bodyguard Of Lies" is one of the most compelling and important reads out there. Lovers of Clancy novels should put them away for a year and concentrate on some of the most real bizarre, yet important, machinations of espionage and counter-espionage ever created and implemented. What gives this phenomenal work its incredible allure is the knowledge that these creations of...
Published on September 2, 2003 by douglasnegley

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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good at times, but not accurate history
While the book "Bodyguard of Lies" is indeed an interesting book, it is hardly the "Gold Standard." This book, written in the 1970s when intelligence history incorporating ULTRA was just getting started, is filled with lots of inaccuracies, though in fairness some of the first public information about ULTRA and its affect available for the public. This book is best used...
Published on August 12, 2012 by M. Oberholz


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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth, in this case, is more than stranger than fiction, September 2, 2003
By 
"douglasnegley" (Pittsburgh, Pa. United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Hardcover)
"Bodyguard Of Lies" is one of the most compelling and important reads out there. Lovers of Clancy novels should put them away for a year and concentrate on some of the most real bizarre, yet important, machinations of espionage and counter-espionage ever created and implemented. What gives this phenomenal work its incredible allure is the knowledge that these creations of historical intelligence import occored only a little more than a half-decade ago. The book takes its title from Winston Churchill's remark regarding the crucial role of good intelligence, where he stated, "In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." Using for his research information that had only been de-classified the previous year (1975), Anthony Cave Brown takes us through the minefield that was "Ultra", the Allies means of reading the secret ciphers of the Third Reich. "Ultra" was of such devastating importance that the entire city of Coventry was sacrificed in order to keep secret the fact that the Allies had, early on in the war, broken the German "Enigma" ciphers. This top secret cipher would time and time again put vital information directly into the hands of the Allies. It is safe to say that "Ultra" may have been the difference between victory and defeat. Brown also details what can only be referred to as the most convoluted espionage and counter-espionage schemes that only the minds of men at war for the highest stakes ever perceived could conceive of. In one instance, a false 'cadaver' was planted in an apparant shipwreck, replete with false identity papers, false obituary, false love letters, fake funeral, and, more importantly, false maps and information intended to persuade the enemy that they had stumbled upon ACTUAL information, and act accordingly. Brown relates other tales - some quite unsavory on both sides - for instance, Allied baiting of French resistance in order to convince the enemy of the plausibility of invasion (or non-invasion, as the case warrented) at a given place or time. Agents were sometimes dropped into situations where their 'handlers' knew that cover had been blown or compromised...all done to keep a certain game afloat or a certain secret intact. Perhaps the most interesting revelations, for me, in the book came from the 'dangling' of certain German Generals and Intelligence officials who were not simply sympathetic to the Allies, but in many cases actually working against Hitler and taking incredible, traitorous risks to help defeat him (the Schwarze Kapelle, or, in English, the Black Orchestra). Abwehr head Wilhelm Canaris is studied in depth, and his behavior, not to mention his persona alone may be one of the deepest level secrets of the Second World War. Churchill is again quoted at the start of the section on 'Special Means', "In the high ranges of Secret Service work the actual facts in many cases were in every respect equal to the most fantastic inventions of romance and melodrama. Tangle within tangle, plot and counter-plot, ruse and treachery, cross and double-cross, true agent, false agent, double agent...were interwoven in many a texture so intricate as to be incredible and yet true. The Chief and the High Officers of the Secret Service revelled in these subterranean labyrinths, and pursued their task with cold and silent passion." This book will leave you relieved that men like Churchill, Sir Stewart Menzies, Alan Turing and the like were on the side of the Allies. The book may also leave some disturbed concerning what deep levels of intregue - double, triple, even quadruple-cross - can be invoked when men, and women, are convinced that they are fighting on the side of right against what they are sure is the side of wrong.
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this book commands respect, September 5, 2000
By 
murrayjr (Griffin, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Paperback)
I had to stop by and read the reviews on "Bodyguard of Lies". Wow,of 8 reviews, 7 gave it 5 stars and 1 gave it 4. The 4 star review, submitted in 1996, griped that the book was "historically inaccurate" because it did not consult "recently released" material.
If that is the worst thing you can say about this book, then I'll take it. "Bodyguard..." was written in 1976 only a few years after the disclosure of ULTRA and other previously, highly classified secrets that did not come to light until decades after the war. In its humble defense, "Bodyguard of Lies" is not only the best book I have ever read on WWII or spies, but one of the best books I have ever read, period. I highly recommend this book to anyone with the slightest interest in not only WWII or espionage, but history and great writing; Brown is a writer and storyteller of the finest kind. Extremely well-documented and suspensefull, this book is far more gripping and compelling than anything Hollywood could ever come up with, and the best part is that the book is true, and "historically accurate". Read this book, then you too can write a rave review.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bodyguard of Lies, February 22, 2000
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Paperback)
Thorough research and a gripping rendition of history combine for a very readable book that clearly explains the intricate web of the most complex intelligence and counter-intelligence operation in World War II. Anthony Cave Brown does a tremendous job with this book. Don't let the length of this book get to you -- you won't know where the pages went once you start reading! I am a history buff, but learned a great deal in this reading. Highly recommend!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, August 11, 2001
By 
David M. Sapadin (Naperville, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Hardcover)
A relative "turned me on" to this book. Yes, it is out of print. But if you haven't read it - go find it. I found a copy through Amazon, and what a value ...! Brown takes his readers into the bowels of espionage, counter-espionage, and a host of "immaculate deceptions" concocted by those who became responsible for the success of Allied efforts during WWII. Beyond the riveting stories of mystery and mayhem created by MI-5, MI-6, the OSS, and even Churchill himself who loved this sort of thing, Brown explains WWII politics, including the cement-head of Charles DeGaulle, and the political implications of the post WWII era that were being considered in all quarters well before the end of the war. Not to mention an in-depth study of the "Shawarz Kapelle," the conspiracy within Germany to do away with Hitler.
The success of D-Day, the effects of D-Day not only on the soldiers who fought but also and especially upon those who planned the operation, the successes and failures of many deceptions designed to keep the Axis guessing, are all described in detail. D-Day was the culmination of the games, ruses and set-ups that had been going on for almost four years.
If you haven't read this book, don't let the 1976 pub. date deter you. This is a must-read for anyone interested in WWII, WWII politics and post WWII politics, and anyone interested in learning about the lengths nations would go to in order to achieve deception.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars isn't enough for this amazing book!, August 9, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Paperback)
This is one of the two or three most incredible books I have ever read. Seriously. It covers the deception that preceded Operation Overlord (D-DAY). When I say "cover" I mean completely and absolutely. This is probably the most comprehensive tome I've ever read. If you like WWII, or espionage or just good writing...you'll like this book. There has recently been a great deal of interest in "Between Silk And Cyanide" by Marks. That's a terrible book! This is a thousand times better; not even in the same league. If you do like this book then you've got to read "The Double-Cross System" by Masterson. That's another classic but so much earlier it doesn't reveal some of the previously-classified secrets that are the bread and butter of "Bodyguard."
YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bodyguard of Lies, December 17, 1999
By 
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Paperback)
This book's content brings into written history a perspective of WWII,its leaders, its vast material and weapons development which should be must reading for any specialist or policy advocate in the future. Underneath all planning by the Allies was the fact that the English knew every move of the Atlas powers and could keep this fact secret for the entire length of the war. The depth of research and organization of material is wonderful.
I hope it will be reprinted.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on espionage in WW2 and the most readable., November 11, 1998
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Paperback)
With the renewed interest in WW2 after "Saving Private Ryan" I cannot suggest a better book to read than "Bodyguard of Lies." Anthony Cave Brown writes in such a readable manner and with such an intimate style that, hopefully, the generations that never had WW2 taught in high school will understand why it is better to stop tyrants early rather than late.
Brown captures the details, cunning and humor of the supreme game of deception better than any author I have read on the subject (and it is all true.) I cannot recommend this book with enough passion. Sadly it is out of print. I have loaned my three copies so many times I now have only one and it is out on loan. I hope I get it back to read once again.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True story of D-Day: The facts are stranger than fiction!, December 8, 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Paperback)
Whether you prefer fiction to non-fiction, this book has all
the suspense and intrigue anyone could hope for. Written by
Anthony Cave Brown, who also authored biographies of "Wild
Bill" Donovan ("founder" of the OSS) and the infamous Soviet
mole, Kim Philby, this book has more action and holds the
reader's interest better than both of those accounts.

This is a tale of the deceptive activities of both the Allied
and Axis powers before WWII through D-Day. Much of the book
revolves around the now fairly well-known cryptological
breakthrough of the Allieds, code-named Ultra. Believe it
or not, the Allieds were able to read virtually all of the
German encrypted signals -- many times before the intended
recipient received the message! But, despite the great
advantage of this intelligence breakthrough, there was a
great price to pay to keep the fact of that breakthrough a
secret (lest the Germans change their codes). One chapter
recounts the story of how Churchill did nothing to stop a
German air attack that demolished the town of Coventry -- he
didn't even put the firefighting resources on alert -- for
the sake of protecting Ultra. This tale and others drive
home the point that this was a "win at all costs" effort.

Churchill later said, "In time of war, the truth is so
precious that she must be protected by a bodyguard of lies."
Hence, the name of the book. The intensity of the Allied
(and particularly the British) resolve to win is hard to
grasp in this day and age when military missions are
considered failures if the casualties can be counted on two
hands. The cold, calculating utilitarian decision to give
up a large civilian population -- just to maintain an edge
over the enemy -- would be unthinkable today. Yet, as this
book makes plain, those decisions were routinely made during
WWII (but not necessarily without remorse or emotion).

Of course, there was much more to the success of D-Day than
knowing the German code, so Brown attempts to unravel the
entire web of deception spun by the Allieds. And he does so
successfully. The intricate, devious "games" that the high
commands on both sides played are reviewed with hindsight
made possible by recently released files from WWII. The
author tackles various deceptive ploys, from the defeat of
Rommel's panzer divisions at El Alamein to the use of Patton
commanding inflated rubber tanks across from the Pas de
Calais just to keep Hitler convinced that the invasion would
take place there (playing on Hitler's fear of Patton). Over
and over, Brown lays out stratagems on both sides as they
attempted to defy the old adage, "Cheaters never prosper."

Brown shows how treacherous these "games" were and how
closely they were run -- including the D-Day invasion itself.
Many of the deceptive activities were large scale operations
that were sometimes quite costly in terms of human life. In
other cases, the Allieds would simply pass messages that
were meant to be intercepted. All it took would be for the
Germans to realize that the message was a fraud or that the
Allieds knew the message was intercepted, and the entire
deception would be a failure. The psychology, reverse
psychology, and double reverse psychology are all part of
this book. At all times, Brown keeps the reader on the edge
of his or her seat: "Will the invasion of D-Day succeed or
fail?" Sure, we know the outcome, but Brown makes us wonder
how could it possibly have happened? And, more incredibly,
this book makes the reader realize that with one or two
"but fors", this world would be a much different place today.

Readers not familiar with all the ins-and-outs of WWII can
embrace this book as their introduction to WWII and all of
its extraordinary characters. You don't need to know the
Rommels from the Goerings from the Himmlers before starting
this book. In fact, if you read just one book about WWII,
this book can be it (although its focus is on the European
Theatre of Operations). The book is long, but each chapter
tells a story in itself, so you can read it in bits and
pieces at bedtime or you can take it away on a weekend and
get completely absorbed. In the end, everyone may not have
the same reaction I did, but everyone will think, "It is a
d#%@ good thing the Allieds were such good cheaters."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Riveting, June 22, 2001
By 
David M. Sapadin (Naperville, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bodyguard of Lies (Hardcover)
A relative "turned me on" to this book. Yes, it is out of print. But if you haven't read it - go find it. I found a copy through Amazon, and what a value ...! Brown takes his readers into the bowels of espionage, counter-espionage, and a host of "immaculate deceptions" concocted by those who became responsible for the success of Allied efforts during WWII. Beyond the riveting stories of mystery and mayhem created by MI-5, MI-6, the OSS, and even Churchill himself who loved this sort of thing, Brown explains WWII politics, including the cement-head of Charles DeGaulle, and the political implications of the post WWII era that were being considered in all quarters well before the end of the war. Not to mention an in-depth study of the "Shawarz Kapelle," the conspiracy within Germany to do away with Hitler.
The success of D-Day, the effects of D-Day not only on the soldiers who fought but also and especially upon those who planned the operation, the successes and failures of many deceptions designed to keep the Axis guessing, are all described in detail. D-Day was the culmination of the games, ruses and set-ups that had been going on for almost four years.
If you haven't read this book, don't let the 1976 pub. date deter you. This is a must-read for anyone interested in WWII, WWII politics and post WWII politics, and anyone interested in learning about the lengths nations would go to in order to achieve deception.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good at times, but not accurate history, August 12, 2012
While the book "Bodyguard of Lies" is indeed an interesting book, it is hardly the "Gold Standard." This book, written in the 1970s when intelligence history incorporating ULTRA was just getting started, is filled with lots of inaccuracies, though in fairness some of the first public information about ULTRA and its affect available for the public. This book is best used as a reference on particular operations/campaign only if it is used as a starting point and further research is pursued on the matter elsewhere.

For instance, it falsely claims ULTRA played a significant role in winning the Battle of Britain it did not. At this time in the war the British government was not reading the majority of Luftwaffe ciphers and codes, only a few. The reading of the Luftwaffe "Red" (name given to Luftwaffe cipher by Bletchley Park) cipher only provided organizational and administrative information only, nothing of tactical nature. For ex: combat unit locations and unit strengths, traffic between ground stations for transfer of one squadron from one airfield to another, fuel stock returns, which newly occupied French airbases were being modified to handle bombers but nothing of tactical such as raid planned or being carried out and when and how nor target - strategic signals were delivered by landline or phone.

That book also falsely claims that Churchill sacrificed Coventry to preserve "goose that laid the golden egg." Also a myth. ULTRA provided information on the creation of the infrastructure to support the Luftwaffe radio beams that allowed the accuracy for the bombing of Coventry. The breaking of German air force cipher "Brown" (again the British name for a particular German cipher) only told the British if an operation was planned - NOT the name of a target, nor strength of raiding force, nor details of the main force route to a target, nor flight path of the pathfinders used to guide in the main bomber force, nor estimated time of arrival at a target by main air units, nor any other tactical information that could be used to deduce the target and or a target force, etc, etc. ULTRA did tell of first German electronic bombing navigation beam Knickenbein and from this how to jam it, and told of availability of other 2 being developed, X-Gerat and Y-Gerat, used for Coventry. But ULTRA DID NOT provide information of either the name of Coventry nor details of the raid any particular night. "Brown" cipher did not detail such tactical and strategic information as such information was not transmitted by Germans on this cipher or any cipher that British were reading at that particular time in the war Coventry was raided. Furthermore the Germans would wait till just hours before a raid before activating the navigation electronics for security reasons, and as ULTRA in the second half of war still took anywhere from a few to 6-8 hours to read Luftwaffe signals Bletchley Park would be hard pressed for interception, decryption, decoding, translation, then to determine its priority, then pass along the information to decision-makers who themselves need time to act. At this time in the war such timeframe would make it next to impossible to have a chance to play any role in either the Battle of Britain or the Coventry Raid.

And this is just what is written about ULTRA, there are other parts of the book that the reader must approach with critical thinking skills.

Two respective military historians and former officers of the war and involved in intelligence (Michael Howard and Hugh Trevor-Roper) matters critiques this book and wrote that it could be "enjoyed as a narrative, as history it cannot be trusted."
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Bodyguard of Lies
Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown (Hardcover - Oct. 1975)
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