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Hoover's Secret War against Axis Spies: FBI Counterespionage during World War II Hardcover – March 28, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (March 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700619526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700619528
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Exposes Hoover's counterintelligence missteps and his repeated refusales to cooperated with and learn from experienced Allied espionage experts. It also provides a long list of unsung FBI heroes who fought the Axis threat from Canada to the tip of Argentina."—America in WWII

"Hoover's Secret War against Axis Spies is a monumental book, breaking new ground in the field of secret intelligence. . . . Chronicles the Bureau's struggle to become America's leading intelligence service from Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima and beyond."—World War II

"A splendid account of the FBI's contribution to victory in World War II."—Washington Times

About the Author

Raymond J. Batvinis, former Supervisory Special Agent for the FBI and Executive Director of the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation, is the author The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence, also from Kansas. He teaches at The George Washington University, Mercyhurst University, and the Institute of World Politics.

More About the Author

Ray Batvinis website: FBIstudies.com. After looking up to police officers and law enforcement officials throughout his youth, Ray Batvinis joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1972 and served there for the next 25 years. His work included organized crime, counterintelligence and espionage, and international and domestic terrorism. He taught agents in the FBI's training unit and served for 12 years in the FBI's Baltimore Field Office as the Supervisory Special Agent of Counterintelligence.

After his retirement, Batvinis pursued his PhD in American History and earned it in 2002 from The Catholic University of America. His doctoral dissertation focused on the history of FBI, which later became the basis for his first book, "The Origins of FBI Counterintelligence." His second book about FBI history is entitled, "Hoover's Secret War Against Axis Spies: FBI Counterespionage During World War II."

Dr. Batvinis teaches FBI history at various universities. He lives in Maryland and continues his research as well as speaking engagements and teaching. For more information, go to his website: FBIstudies.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Edward J Appel Sr on July 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a retired member of the US Intelligence Community, I found Ray Batvinis’ Hoover’s Secret War Against Axis Spies: FBI Counterespionage During World War II a refreshing history, and a revealing documentary of little-known WW II intelligence facts (some apparently published for the first time). For those who love spy tales, the book is replete with real-life cases of Nazi spies intercepted and turned into double agents by the FBI and its British colleagues. For insights into how the Allies won WW II, the book sheds clear light on the deception and intelligence collection that provided strategic advantages to the winners, despite intense and unremitting Nazi military pressure.

As the organization that created, ran and succeeded in the first modern civilian overseas US intelligence service, the Special Intelligence Service (SIS) in Central and South America, the FBI is rightly shown as a major contributor to US victory and to American intelligence, including today’s Central Intelligence Agency. CIA’s first station chiefs abroad included several former SIS officers, who were given the choice by J. Edgar Hoover to transfer to CIA upon its founding in 1947.

Former Supervisory Special Agent Ray Batvinis, himself one of the most accomplished FBI counterintelligence professionals of his day, includes all the painful and quirky back stories one needs to illustrate the difficulties of working in a pre-war and embattled world, where rivalries and personal agendas seemed even more pronounced than in peacetime. Truly unique characters abound, including Hoover, William Stephenson, Stewart Menzies, William Donovan, and other icons of intelligence history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A review by Anthony T. Riggio of Raymond J Batvinis’ “Hoover’s Secret War Against Axis Spies” August 25, 2014

I purchased this book through Amazon and was interested in reading it because of my love of both history and the FBI. I try to read every book written by a retired FBI agent but I find that this group is so prolific in their writing of both history and exciting novels that it is difficult to keep current. Ray Batvinis’ book was a surprise to me and I learned he had written a book prior to this one entitled
“The origins of FBI Counterintelligence”. I have put this on my reading list. For full disclosure, I met Ray in Cleveland Ohio where we were both first office agents and I must confess that he probably does not remember me. While I know little of his skills as an FBI agent, after reading this book, I found him to be an excellent writer, a well-researched historian and scholar.

The …Secret War… takes the reader to the period immediately prior to World War II and the struggles of the FBI to develop a most needed counterintelligence program. The FBI followed the lead of several British intelligence services namely MI5 and MI6 but also BSC (British Security Coordination). The British had been at the game of counterintelligence for much longer than any agency in the U.S. During these early years of World War II, Hoover realized that the FBI had to do a lot of catching up in this critical area.

Hoover tried to gain the confidence and assistance of the British, who were already operating in the U.S. gathering intelligence and developing counterintelligence approaches.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Batvinis's HOOVER'S SECRET WAR breaks fresh ground and is an invaluable contribution to students of intelligence and World War II intelligence historians. The sequel to his earlier treatment of the Sebold case and the FBIs introduction to counterintelligence in the late 1930s/early 1940s, Batvinis explores J. Edgar Hoover's troubled relationship with William Stephenson and William J. Donovan and recounts FBI double agent operations that extended the double-cross system to North America and the Western Hemisphere during World War II. Although not always successful, he endeavors to present a balanced portrait of the FBIs founder and the bureaucratic difficulties he faced in converting his Bureau from a crime-fighting agency into a modern counterintelligence organization. Highly recommended for specialists and general readers alike.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fearless Fed on July 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am aware that the author is a respected retired FBI official who probably has done more research on the FBI's activities in the WW2 era than anyone. The primary reason I purchased this book was to learn about what he had to say concerning the SIS,which was the FBI's very large scale engagement in counter intelligence in Latin America.
Although most identify the OSS as the predecessor to the CIA, I believe the facts will show the CIA is modeled after the SIS and in fact a good part of the CIA hierarchy dealing with Latin America were former FBI agents from the SIS.
Batvinis was a HQ type and his POV is from the activities at FBIHQ.His comments re the SIS are minimal
I am not sure the title is accurate. The book is very much engaged in reviewing the war which raged between FBIHQ and the British intelligence establishment based in NYC .Actually a 3 way engagement involving the cooperation between the FBI and MI 5 and MI6 and also the Brits irritation with the Brit operation in NYC
The book is interesting re the FBI adoption of the Brits effective quiet turning of German spies into double agents
He recognizes the Brit's being appalled at the FBI's publicizing the apprehension of German spies landed in NY and FL and glazes over how the publicity effectively destroyed a golden opportunity.
Unquestionably Batvinis identified many sources,opening research opportunities for scholars who follow up this endeavor.
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