A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews
Audible Sample
ISBN-13: 978-0195387049
ISBN-10: 019538704X
Why is ISBN important?
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Kindle App Ad
eBook features:
  • Highlight, take notes, and search in the book
  • Page numbers are just like the physical edition
  • Length: 489 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Page Flip: Enabled
  • Audible book:
    Audible book
    Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Add the Audible book for a reduced price of $7.49 when you buy the Kindle book.
  • Matchbook Price: $2.99 What's this?
    For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
    • Thousands of books are eligible, including current and former best sellers.
    • Look for the Kindle MatchBook icon on print and Kindle book detail pages of qualifying books. You can also see more Kindle MatchBook titles here or look up all of your Kindle MatchBook titles here.
    • Read the Kindle edition on any Kindle device or with a free Kindle Reading App.
    • Print edition must be purchased new and sold by Amazon.com.
    • Gifting of the Kindle edition at the Kindle MatchBook price is not available.
    Learn more about Kindle MatchBook.
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Digital List Price: $13.99 Save $4.00 (29%)‎

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

See all 15 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Try Kindle Countdown Deals
Explore limited-time discounted eBooks. Learn more.

Editorial Reviews


"A delight-filled account...[A]s much an entertainment as history."--Wall Street Journal

"A fascinating new book about British intelligence's deception operations against the Axis powers."--Washington Post SpyTalk

Rankin's page-turner makes the most of the gifted amateurs, eccentrics, and professional illusionists responsible for the imaginative schemes of the British military and details the care and seriousness with which they were implemented."--Foreign Affairs

"There isn't a dull page -- not even a dull sentence -- in Nicholas Rankin's fantastic wunderkabinet of wartime revelations. It is all here -- colonels in drag, midget submarines, corpses with stashed secrets, a black radio station called Aspidistra and more inventions than James Bond's Q could ever conceive -- and is endlessly fascinating in consequence. No better book about the mad arcana of belligerence has ever been written."--Simon Winchester

"Good, rollicking fun."--Max Hastings

"Rankin tells an enthralling, not to say astounding, true-life tale of inflatable tanks and dummy airfields and of pretend radio stations reporting on imaginary armies."--Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman

"Nicholas Rankin's book [is a] hymn to amateur invention and its stunningly professional deployment...It is a book of marvellous yarns, which will appeal to a far wider readership than the sombre consumers of standard military history. Regimental bores may rail, but it's hard to think of anyone with a taste for human ingenuity being anything other than enchanted and, if British, sneakily proud. Knee in the goolies. Out like a light. Works every time."--Michael Bywater, Daily Telegraph

"A thoroughly entertaining read, helped along by Rankin's engaging style. But it's the characters that keep you hooked."--Jonathan Carter, London Lite

"Nicholas Rankin's well-researched and highly enjoyable book...[There are] many superb stories of the camouflage, black propaganda, secret intelligence and special forces of the two world wars, which he does very entertainingly indeed."--Andrew Roberts, Daily Telegraph

"Rankin is a great guide to these arts...[His] enthusiasm for and knowledge of his subject has produced a book replete with anecdote, character sketches and revelations, all embedded in an ability to sketch the military and civilian background with enough clarity to support his narrative and repertoire of characters."--John Lloyd, The Herald

"Mr. Rankin goes poking and probing the lesser-known facts of the two World Wars. What an entertaining journey he provides."--Len Deighton

"A most enjoyable read."--Thaddeus Holt, author of The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War

"This is a story clamouring to be told. During the war we heard rumours, knew there was something called 'camouflage' going on but could not have imagined the scope of the inventiveness, the daring of these people's imaginations. What a galaxy of talents - designers of all kinds, real magicians, the make-up people, dyers, painters and inventors. The theatre and the military created whole armies, ships, navies, aircraft, arsenals of weapons out of shadows and illusions, out of fantasies and clever paint and trickery. I could not stop reading this book once I had begun."--Doris Lessing

"Nicholas Rankin's engrossing book tells the story of the ambitious and complex deceptions perpetrated by the plucky Brits, which contributed to the turning of the tide and the winning of the Second World War...What makes Churchill's Wizards such an uncommon and arresting read is the detail of these hair-brained schemes. You couldn't make this stuff up. And yet, that's just what Churchill's so-called 'Unknown Warriors' did. With this remarkable book Rankin does them proud."--Miles Fielder, Scotland on Sunday

"If ever a book was meant to have a soundtrack that plays along as you read it, this is it. And that soundtrack should be the theme to The Great Escape, because Churchill's Wizards is packed with tales of derring-do and deception -- tales that in some cases remained hush-hush for decades...Rankin clearly carried out extensive research for this book and it's paid off. It's fascinating, witty, and will provide you with more anecdotes than you can shake a stick with a papier-mache head at."--Andy Ridgway, Focus Magazine

"Many of the stories...have been told before, but Rankin has enhanced them with recently released papers and diaries. It is very good reading and provides an intimate look at the use of deception and those who made it work. This valuable book gives a new perspective to the history of the warfare and deception."--Hayden B. Peake, CIA Historical Intelligence Collection

"Rankin tells his real-life ripping yarns at a fast pace and with a light touch that never obscures the fundamental seriousness of the events."--Dennis Showalter, History Book Club

About the Author

Nicholas Rankin spent twenty years broadcasting for BBC World Service where he was Chief Producer and won two UN awards. His first book for Faber, Dead Man's Chest, followed in Robert Louis Stevenson's footsteps from Scotland to Samoa and was much enjoyed by Graham Greene. His second, Telegram from Guernica, was a widely praised biography of the groundbreaking war-correspondent and front-line propagandist George Lowther Steer. His bestselling Churchill's Wizards, was 'a completely delightful and entertaining read' in the Daily Telegraph. His most recent book is Ian Fleming's Commandos.

Product details

  • File Size: 2884 KB
  • Print Length: 489 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0199769176
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 10, 2009)
  • Publication Date: November 10, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003BVFZ78
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,384 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  • Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

Customer Reviews

Rated by customers interested in
Military History
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
European History
3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Reference Books
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars

Read reviews that mention

Top customer reviews

November 20, 2016
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
August 25, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
August 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
May 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Most recent customer reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars