- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: The Lyons Press; 1st edition (February 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1585742945
- ISBN-13: 978-1585742943
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,369,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ten Thousand Eyes: The Amazing Story of the Spy Network That Cracked Hitler's Atlantic Wall Before D-Day Paperback – February 1, 2001
From The New Yorker
An inspiring account of the extraordinary things that ordinary citizens can do.
A fascinating, dramatic, and compelling epic of the day life of a spy net. -- Chicago Sunday Tribune
It's true, it's well-told and it's documented. A fascinating addition to World War II history. -- San Francisco Chronicle
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Top customer reviews
I've read it several times, and each time get more pleasure from it. Highly recommend this book to anyone interested in World War II history related to France and D-Day.
The book, perhaps unintentionally, provides the reader in the early 21st century with a concept of life in an occupied country. Blackout and curfew from 9pm to 6am, if not 6pm to 6am. No boats away from the dock overnight for any reason. Fishing boats to sea within a certain perimeter only, all subject to inspection before leaving the dock and upon return. All adults subject to conscription for labor, all use of public and private transportation requiring a pass. Any house chosen for occupation force (upon which the current occupants must vacate) or soldier boarding. No radios or wireless transmission of any kind. Violators of curfew and other occupying force orders subject to the whims of the occupation army - jail, deportation, concentration camp, immediate execution.
As a result of this constant environmental persecution, those who work to find the information needed by the Allies are always under what you could tactfully call stress. I often found it hard to put the book down. And you'll find human nature to be frustrating as the errors made have such an impact - the agent who writes everything down and is caught, the agent who takes unnecessary chances, not to mention the double agent or the agent who just knows too much and gets captured - and is tortured without his cyanide.
The book is sketchy on details (there's no map of the French coastline, there's an assumption that we have a map of Paris in our heads, it's lacking details on many of the agents referenced); so you get a flavor, an important flavor, of what happened rather than a full taste. This is an introduction to a few of the key French players, and a knowledge that there were incredibly brave French fighters who helped make D-Day successful.
their heroics were not 007 stunts, rambo shoot-em-ups or chuck norris kick-your-teeth. they gathered vital information without which D-Day and, ultimately, V-Day Europe would possibly not have been accomplished or at least would have cost many, many more lives.
even though it deals with approximately 5000 people in Normandy, it tells the larger story of tens of thousands of french men and women all over occupied France who were not involved in armed resistance (les maquisards), but rather risked their lives by operating literally under the noses of the invading troops.
it is a brilliant tribute to their unwavering courage. i have the honor and the pleasure of being acquainted with one of them, a young man of 97 (in 2012). despite not being mentioned in the book by name, he lived not 20 km from the D-Day beaches. after reading this book, i am sure that the other 9998 eyes deserve just as much respect as he does.
Collier's well-written book is not a history in the usual sense of the word. Great personages occasionally visit the pages, but this tale is about ordinary people - bakers, doctors, mechanics, stenographers - who banded together, often in times of great peril, to obtain information essential for the Allies' success. Key to their efforts was to provide the specifications for "The Wall" - the massive system of fortifications that the Germans built, mainly in Normandy. The story of the theft of the German plan serves as a reminder that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.
Above all, Collier's friendly style shows the people at the center of this history with all their strengths and foibles - from their fear and despair at betrayal in their midst, through their anguish as they see their hometown of Caen destroyed by bombs, to their final joy as the Allies sweep the Germans from Normandy.
Although written in 1957, this book has lost none of its freshness. A story of ordinary people who, despite hardship and setback, triumph over evil. A book that lifts the heart.
Richard Colliers' book "Ten Thousand Eyes" is a true account of the Free French Intelligence Service which gathered information about the German fortifications of the Atlantic Wall prior to the D-Day invasion. The book portrays the role that men, women, and children played in a highly organized underground intelligence infrastructure to support combat operations. A very interesting look into a little covered aspect of resistance organizations.