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A Thorough, But Slightly Slanted Retelling,
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This review is from: Spies Beneath Berlin (Hardcover)
Don't get me wrong, Stafford's book is a fine account of the Berlin Tunnel, but there are a few problems. I would therefore suggest that folks interested in the subject matter first read Martin's "Wilderness of Mirrors," followed by Murphy/Kondrashev's "Battleground Berlin," before reading this.
Although this book does some add some fine detail hitherto unavailable in the aforementioned titles, it is insufficient, in my mind, so as to set this volume so apart from the others (as far as Berlin Tunnel material is related) as to warrant any especial consideration. Apart from some great new photos, that is.
It's obvious to me that Stafford, an Englishman, feels somewhat slighted regarding the lack of public attention paid his country or countrymen in this historical clandestine operation, and he more than makes up for it in his retelling here. According to the author, British SIS chief Sinclair "authorized the Berlin Tunnel," SIS station chief Peter Lunn, "masterminded" the tunnel operation, the tunnel was Lunn's "brainchild," and Lunn was the "true originator" of the operation. It's only ever Operation "Stopwatch/Gold," never Operation Gold (the American code name). Lunn was so good he even scouted the precise Rudow site on his own, independently, before the Americans chose it, or so Stafford would have one believe. Apparently, British Intelligence is even today still holding fast "to its blanket rule that there should be no discussion or acknowledgment of" their involvement in the Berlin Tunnel. Please...
Stafford briefly addresses a potential Operation Bronze (also mentioned by Martin), yet another tunneling/cable-tapping project, this time in Berlin's British sector. Left solely to their own devices, the British never never made it happen, alas.
The British were certainly heavily and crucially involved in the Berlin Tunnel. But after reading this book I'm surprised they let the Americans in on the operation at all, goodness gracious! I'm sure Stafford is a good man, and desires to set the record straight, but the painfully obvious, slightly slanted fashion in which it's done here doesn't afford the British their rightful due. It comes across as just a bit of sour grapes.