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Most Secret War (Wordsworth Military Library) Paperback – August 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Wordsworth Military Library
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New edition edition (August 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185326699X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853266997
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Reginald Victor Jones was an English physicist and scientific military intelligence expert who played an important role in the defence of Britain in the Second World War. He died in 1997. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Both do a good job of covering the topics where there is overlap.
John B.
This book is better than the best mystery/suspense thriller story I've ever read.
D. Hage
R.V. Jones is a legendary figure in British scientific intelligence.
Jeff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By El Cutachero on December 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is also known as the Wizard War.
The author as a relatively young man was the technical intelligence director for the British Royal Air Force in WW II. As such he was involved in the development of active, passive, and counter measures to thwart the German Luftwaffe.
Developments included radars, anti ship missiles,jet engines, defense against buzz bombs, and the jamming of radio navigation systems used by the Germans.
After the war the author returned to Scotland to become a university professor. He returned to service during the Korean War period. His other book Reflections on Intelligence reveals him to be a man of erudition and covers and fills in some of the gaps in the story told herein which could not be revealed at the time this book was written.
Another one for the complete shelf of intelligence classics.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tholzel on March 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is as fascinating for the inside stories it reveals about a number of secret technical measures and counter-measures used by the British and German military, as it is about the iron law of large organizations: "Politics Always Comes First."

R.V. Jones was a 27-year old natural disciple of William of Occam. He was a superb engineer. He combined his calm, clear-eyed logic with a gritty determination to always find things out for himself. He analyzed what was going on in the emerging field of radar, and consistently out-guessed the Germans and his own military intelligence organizations about what was coming next, and when. Then he did battle with the establishment crowd that always gathers at the top of any organization wielding power. Were it not that Churchill spotted his unusual talent, and acted as a blocker for him, he would have had his job snatched away by a dozen regal interlopers. The inexplicable aspect of this political dynamic is that even when higher-ups are repeatedly shown to be wrong, they are almost never removed from their commanding posts. Instead, the slate is wiped clean on their error, and they are promptly back in the fray, trying once again to unseat the upstart who got lucky. And they never forget the insult.

The British military intelligence apparatus during WW-II was remarkable for the caliber of the talent it obtained, and the relatively free-wheeling interaction amongst these university types. In many ways it was the best aspect of the old boy's club where one could always count on a chum to intercede or get cross-organizational information. When used to advance the cause, it is unbeatable in getting things done.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Kim Anderson on August 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I originally purchased this book in 1979, a year after it was first published. I have had to buy it again because my original paperback simply fell apart. Thoughtful, thorough, witty and absolutely fascinating, R.V. Jones is one of the people I would most have liked to meet during my lifetime (he passed away in 1997). I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By lector avidus on June 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Dr. Jones was an Oxford physicist from a military family who found himself in charge of English scientific intelligence during the Second World War. In this capacity, he led the effort to identify new German technologies and tactics, and then devise countermeasures.

Among his accomplishments were sending a raiding party across the Channel to dismantle and bring back a complete German radar station, anticipating and foiling the navigation systems the Germans devised for their bombers, anticipating and devising limited countermeasures to the V1s and V2s, exfiltrating Niels Bohr from Copenhagen and analyzing German effort to develop atomic bombs.

Dr. Jones certainly lived in interesting times, but unlike the much quoted Chinese curse, which continues with may one have powerful enemies, the powerful men in his life, most notably Churchill, had complete faith in him, and with good reason.

This is an incredible book, which I heartily recommend to anyone with an interest in military history or science.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Wizard War distills and communicates the experiences of an experienced and widely-respected intelligence analyst. Dr. Jones' recounting of the intelligence challenges presented him and how they were overcome stands out as an absolute requirement in the gathering of intelligence lore by students of the profession. Writing style is personable and entertaining. Intelligence professionals of all ranks and stations should read this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kaushik Ghose on November 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book, because the writer was at the centre of what he writes about, he has humour, he presents enough scientific detail of the work to make it interesting and not tedious. For me the books principal charm is in the depiction of how intelligence officers in those days would get smudged phtographs, or one line radio intercepts from state of the art equipment that to us seems like something from a child's hobby kit, and would try to guess what was up on the other side.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Colin Povey on September 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have probably read this book half-a-dozen times. I am buying a hardback copy, because I have worn my paperback version out. It is truly one of the most impressive books on WW II ever written, especially one written before the release of ULTRA.

Dr. Jones was head of scientific intelligence for the RAF from before the war until the end of the conflict. In his role, he primarily was concerned with the German developments in radar, radar countermeasures, radar assisted bombing, and flying bomb (V-1 and V-2) developments. With his knowledge of science, Dr. Jones and his meager staff were able to predict the capabilities and weaknesses of many German scientific innovations during the war, and then to suggest countermeasures. For example, on the V-1 and V-2, Dr. Jones was able to determine ALL of their performance capabilities, payload, etc., generally within a few percent of the actual data, from a few scraps of information obtained by spies and radio intercepts. Others, looking at the same information, missed the mark, sometimes factors of 3-5 times the correct information!

The book makes a great argument for the inclusion of scientists in intelligence gathering, especially on a full-time basis. Dr. Jones ended up as the highest ranking civilian in the RAF, a testament to his value.

And to top it off, Dr. Jones is a very good writer, much better than most scientists, in addition to being first-rate physicist.

In short, If you have an interest in WW II history, this book should be number one on your list of books to read. If you like scientific history, this book should be your number one book to read if you have not already done so.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If I could, I would give it a 10.
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