- 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: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Secret War (Wordsworth Military Library) Paperback – August, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
The story itself gives one an insider's view of how desperate the British situation was in 1940 and how a nation pulled together, despite petty rivalry and bureaucratic obstacles, to fight The Blitz and turn the tide in the air war.
Being an electrical engineer, I was also intrigued by the history of RADAR (RDF to the British) and remote targeting, and how it was employed differently by the British and Germans. However, I cannot say how a non-technical reader will like this.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The real inside story of what transpired,as it happened 1939-1945.Published 2 months ago by Brian M Moyse
This book appeared soon after the 25-year secrecy lift. R. V. Jones is to be complimented on a job well done to set the scene for the amazing decoding effort the British and Poles... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ralph D. Glashoff
This is great history. Well worth the time reading, great personal stories.Published 13 months ago by L. Callahan
I had read this book many years ago but felt it was worth re-reading in the light of other books I have read since. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mr. R. Wilson Laidlaw
An absolutely delightful book. R. V. Jones was a young kid (but with a PhD. He was put in a position of evaluating German scientific developments from bombing using radio beams... Read morePublished 21 months ago by John Matlock
Churchill said to the author of this book, "Praise the humaniies, they'll think you're broadminded" Despite being slighty over truffled with quotes from the classics... Read morePublished on May 22, 2014 by matthew hilton