7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Interesting but sketchy,
This review is from: A Man Called Intrepid (Paperback)
Perhaps the very nature of the subject results in a history that is sketchy. It has many fascinating chapters that fill in the gaps of other WWII histories, and person who is well read in WWII histories will find this an important title for the collection. But reading this without a good WWII background may be misleading.
The author makes numerous statements that are not backed up with facts. For example, in a reference to a daring theft of Vichy French naval ciphers, the author claims that without these ciphers the North Africa landings in 1942 [Torch] wouldn't have been possible. Really?
Another example is the Dieppe landings. We're lead to believe that there were a number of spin-off missions from the "failed" Dieppe invasion in 1942, including the rescue of 19 French secret agents locked up in the landing area, and investigating German radar capabilities. But the author never convinces me that these were worth the cost of over 5,000 men lost in the battle.
I think Stevenson gives the reader the impression that secret ops were responsible for preventing the Nazis from building atomic weapons. From other books I have read on the subject, Hitler had little interest in devoting the resources required for this project. The German scientists had pursued the wrong path early in the war and never got back on the correct path. If BSC had done nothing in this field, the Germans would still not have built an atomic bomb before the war ended. Of course the Allies didn't know this and I don't fault them for making the effort to disrupt German atomic research, but it was really just overkill.
I found the first half of the book much more intersting, especially where the author reveals the treachery of the appeasers and Nazi sympathizers like Joe Kennedy and Charles Lindbergh. I take issue with the previous reviewer (Rob "Coolerking") in his comparison of today's 'War against Terror" with WWII. The Bush administration has created a negative environment in the American intelligence community where the operatives are only listened to if they provide information that supports the Administrations goals or beliefs. Anything contrary is ignored. In the case of the Valerie Plame case, when she gave contrary evidence to the case Bush was making for attacking Iraq, she was exposed. This abuse of intelligence is not what intrepid had in mind. In fact, he speaks about this very issue in his forward when he writes, "So there is the conundrum: How can we wield the weapons of secrecy wihout doing damage to ourselves? How can we preserve the secrecy without endangering constitutional law and the individual guarantees of freedom?"
I recommend this book for WWII buffs, but having a broad background on the subject is a perequisite.
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Initial post: Oct 26, 2007 12:05:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2007 12:07:37 PM PDT
John Phillips says:
This has been one of my most enjoyable books ever which I've read 3 or 4 times. Anyone with an questionable opinion has that ability because of the efforts of men like Stephenson before,during,and since WWII. What is funny is the blatant liberal leaning John Hammond has questioning the truth in this book and at the same time blaming the Bush Administration for current events like "outing" the social butterfly Valerie "this one's for hubby" Phlane. She concocted this because Jim Wilson had a mad-on w/the current admin and the MSM picked up on it as they usually do. Quit drinking the kool-aid Hammond!!
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2014 1:04:28 AM PDT
Don Reed says:
If you are disillusioned with "blatant[ly] liberal" people questioning the book, take a look at John Colville's discussion of AMCI in his "Winston Churchill and His Inner Circle" (1981, hardcover, p. 83-86).
He will satisfy your political prejudice perfectly, having been a British Conservative and WC's Private Secretary for close to two decades.
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