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Based on the wartime diaries of Allied soldier and saboteur Tom Barnes, this account of thrilling WWII wartime deeds deep behind enemy lines in Greece is based on fact but reads like fiction. A thrilling read of wartime exploits, daring, intrigue and resourcefulness, The Sabotage Diaries is the astonishing true story of Allied engineer Tom Barnes, who was parachuted behind enemy lines in Greece in October 1942 with a small team of sappers and special operations officers. Their brief was to work with the Greek resistance in sabotage operations against the German and Italian occupation forces. Under-equipped and under-prepared but with courage to spare, their initial mission was to blow up a key railway bridge, cutting Rommel's supply lines to North Africa, where the battle of El Alamein was about to begin. But Operation Harling-as it was known-was only the start of a lengthy and perilous clandestine mission. Written by Tom Barnes' daughter-in-law, award-winning author Katherine Barnes, and drawn from Tom's wartime diaries, reports and letters, plus many other historical sources and first-hand accounts, this is a vivid and gripping tale of the often desperate and dangerous reality behind sabotage operations. 'A thrilling tale that could be straight out of the pages of an action adventure novel ...a remarkable and highly readable tale of a little known World War II operation.' Daily Telegraph 'Think the Guns of Navarone, but for real ...Explosions, mountains, dashing male partisans, dashing female partisans, big fat village weddings, treachery - it's all here in this thrilling and informative salute to an unsung hero of the Second World War.' Sunday Express UK 'Exciting and informative' Hobart Mercury 'The Sabotage Diaries has fantastically broad appeal ...Like a saboteur under the cover of dark, the book will stealthily administer a solid history lesson cloaked in an enthralling personal tale of struggle, success and longing.' Neos Kosmos
June 1940. Britain is Europe's final bastion of freedom - and Hitler's next target. But not everyone fears a Nazi invasion. In factories, offices and suburban homes are men and women determined to do all they can to hasten it. Throughout the Second World War, Britain's defence against the enemy within was Eric Roberts, a former bank clerk from Epsom. Equipped with an extraordinary ability to make people trust him, he was recruited into the shadowy world of espionage by the great spymaster Maxwell Knight. Roberts penetrated first the Communist Party and then the British Union of Fascists, before playing his greatest role for MI5 - as Hitler's man in London. Codenamed Jack King, he single-handedly built a network of hundreds of British Nazi sympathisers, with many passing secrets to him in the mistaken belief that he was a Gestapo officer. Operation Fifth Column, run by a brilliant woman scientist and a Jewish aristocrat with a sideline in bomb disposal, was kept so secret it was omitted from the reports MI5 sent to Winston Churchill. In a narrative that grips like a thriller, Robert Hutton tells the fascinating story of an operation whose existence has only recently come to light. Drawing on newly declassified documents and private family archives, Agent Jack shatters the comfortable notion that Britain could never have succumbed to fascism, and celebrates - at last - the courage of individuals who protected the country they loved at great personal risk.
Just how far would you go to escape? Would you bury yourself under the floor? Would you board a boat with a rotten bottom? Would you tunnel underground? Contained within this book are the daring true stories of fifteen soldiers and their escapes from prison camps during the Great War. What makes these tales special is that they are first-hand accounts, written at the time when the experiences were still fresh in the soldiers' minds. Shocking, moving, exhilarating, humorous, dark. There is not an emotion left unexplored in this selection of accounts, where a group of brave individuals risked all they had to escape and get back to their own country. The adventures span everything from unexpected alliances and remarkable kindness to exceptional ingenuity and considerable danger to foolhardy audacity and, quite frankly, jammy luck. Included in the text are rarely seen images, maps and plans of the escapes, along with biographical information on each soldier about their time during the war. This book pays tribute to the men who, although captured and incarcerated during World War One, still somehow found it in themselves to break out of prison and make their way back to fight again. Their story is a remarkable account of determination, tenacity and will to keep going; a perfect illustration of the extraordinary courage that can overcome us when we are desperate to return home to our loved ones.
Doug Beattie was due to retire from the British Army in 2007, until his CO made a desperate plea: stay on for just one more tour. In March 2008 he returned to Afghanistan.But if 2006 had been hellish, then 2008 was off the scale. For six months Beattie led Afghan and British troops into repeated, exhausting battles with the Taliban. He took part in 50 major contacts and describes in detail the action-packed reality of life and death on the frontline, bringing the chaos and ferocity of the war to lfe with the utmost honesty and humanity. Gripping and moving in equal measure, this searing and personal account from the author of An Ordinary Soldier is a war memoir of the highest possible calibre.
One December night in 1942, a Nazi parachutist landed in a Cambridgeshire field. His mission: to sabotage the British war effort. His name was Eddie Chapman, but he would shortly become MI5's Agent Zigzag. Dashing and louche, courageous and unpredictable, the traitor was a patriot inside, and the villain a hero. The problem for Chapman, his many lovers and his spymasters was knowing who he was. Ben Macintyre weaves together diaries, letters, photographs, memories and top-secret MI5 files to create the exhilarating account of Britain's most sensational double agent.
"We went to the mountains of eastern Bosnia to hide from the war. As if a forest could shield you from a war. The war flies, reaches you in a second. It runs through the walls, over the mountains and rivers. It enters your mind, and your heart and your soul and refuses to leave . . ." In 1992 the growing threat of Serb nationalism in Bosnia forced Hasan Nuhanovic and his family to flee their home for the safety of Bosnia's mountainous countryside. High up in the woods along the Drina River, Hasan and thousands of Bosniak refugees faced bitter nights, deprivation and death, while Serb soldiers covered their retreat with sniper fire and artillery shelling. After many months on the move, the Bosniaks battled their way to the town of Srebrenica, their last refuge, under the charge of a small UN force. When the Bosnian-Serb army laid siege to the town, Hasan's life once more became a daily struggle for survival, battling starvation, sniping and shelling. "The Last Refuge" is a powerful first-hand account of the barbarism of those years leading up to the massacre in Srebrenica; it is also an action-packed, gripping true story of struggle, survival and heroism.
April 1945. As Allied bombs rain down on Europe, a 400-year-old institution looks set to be wiped off the face of the Earth. The famous white Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, unique and precious animals representing centuries of careful breeding, are scattered across rural Austria and Czechoslovakia in areas soon to be swallowed up by Soviet forces - there, doubtless, to become rations for the Red Army. Their only hope lies with the Americans: what if a small, highly mobile US task force could be sent deep behind German lines, through fanatical SS troops, to rescue the horses before the Soviets arrive. Just five light tanks, a handful of armoured cars and jeeps, and 300 battle-weary GIs must plunge headlong into the unknown on a rescue mission that could change the course of European history. So begins Operation Cowboy, the greatest Second World War story that has never been fully told. GIs will join forces with surrendered German soldiers and liberated prisoners of war to save the world's finest horses from fanatical SS and the ruthless Red Army in an extraordinary battle during the last few days of the war in Europe.
Five incredible true stories of canine bravery in wartime. For as long as dogs have lived alongside man, they have saved their lives in wartime with their bravery, loyalty and companionship. From the WWII dog that was adopted by the Royal Navy as a mascot, torpedoed, shot at and registered as a prisoner of war, to the more recent heroics of explosives dog, Bonnie, in Afghanistan and Iraq where she saved hundreds of military and civilian lives, this is a collection of the most incredible and heartwarming accounts from around the world. Capturing the fear, uncertainly, determination and undying devotion of these amazing dogs and the young soldiers, sailors and airmen they befriended, these are truly inspirational tales of loyalty and companionship beyond all boundaries.
At the end of the First World War, there were 270,000 demobilised Australian soldiers in Europe. Getting them home after the Armistice was a task of epic proportions that would take more than two years. In the meantime, how to keep these disgruntled, damaged men with guns occupied? In a word: sport. The Oarsmen tells the story of the servicemen who survived the war to row for the coveted King's Cup at the 1919 Royal Henley Peace Regatta. Competing against crews from the US, New Zealand, France, the UK and Canada, the Australians were a ragtag bunch of oarsmen thrown in an old-fashioned boat and expected to race. Many had seen the worst of the action during the war at Gallipoli and the Western Front, and carried scars both physical and psychological. The baggage they brought to the boat would soon threaten to capsize the whole endeavour. Combining first-hand accounts with lively prose, this never-before-told story approaches the First World War from peacetime and illuminates history in vivid and compelling detail. Interweaving the soldiers' personal stories from before, during and after the war, The Oarsmen paints a fascinating picture of how these men, and society, transitioned from an unprecedented war to a new sort of peace.
In this remarkable tale of courage, historian Dawn Trimble Bunyak recounts the experiences of her uncle, Lawrence Pifer, a technical sergeant who survived fourteen months of internment as a prisoner of war in World War II Nazi Germany.
A radio operator and ball turret gunner on the American B-17 bomber "Slightly Dangerous," Pifer was shot down during a raid on March 4, 1944. As he parachuted from the plummeting plane, Pifer witnessed the deaths of two of his fellow crewmembers. Captured by Nazi soldiers and taken to a series of German Stalag Luft camps, Pifer and other servicemen-mostly in their teens and twenties-endured torture, starvation, disease, and forced marches. When British forces liberated Pifer's group, he pushed his POW experiences deep into the recesses of his mind, not to recall them in detail for decades.
Years later, a POW group at a Veterans Administration hospital helped Pifer realize that he was ready to tell his story. After forty hours of interviews with Pifer, Dawn Trimble Bunyak retells the enthralling story of an average enlisted man's struggle to survive in the face of hopelessness, with only his strong faith and pride in country to sustain him.
In his foreword, historian Arnold Krammer shows how popular views of the prisoner-of-war experience have changed dramatically over time yet how rare are such first-person accounts as Pifer's. Enhanced by numerous photographs and maps and an appendix of prisoners' poetry, "Our Last Mission" is one of only a few oral histories that details the daily experiences of one of the 94,000 American POWs in Europe during World War II.
The remarkable story of a Japanese American who served in a top-secret team in World War II that coaxed Japanese Imperial soldiers from their bunkers on the front lines of the war in the Pacific. Masao Abe was a second-generation Japanese American who was swept up in the momentum of history during World War II. Born in southern California but educated as a teenager in Japan during the 1930s, he returned to the US and was drafted into the US Army. As he completed basic training, the attack on Pearl Harbor put his military career in limbo because the US government didn't know what to do with him or how to think about him--was he an enemy or a patriot? Masao was eventually recruited to join the secretive Military Intelligence Service: he was trained to accompany American soldiers as they fought their way across the islands in the Pacific. His assignment was to convince Japanese Imperial soldiers to lay down their arms, and to read captured documents looking for enemy strategies. He went to war with a bodyguard because his commanders knew he wore a target on his front and his back. This little-known slice of history reveals how the confluence of race, war, and loyalty played out when the nation called for the service of those it judged most harshly.
'An adrenalin-fuelled, gritty story of heroism on the frontline in Afghanistan.' - Andy McNab The rounds were single shot from the same two enemy positions, trying to pick me off. They were kicking up the dirt around me. Then all hell broke loose as the gunship's Gatling vomited ammo right over my head. The sound was deafening. It was now or never. I got up and ran. A captain in the 29 Commando regiment, Johnny Mercer served in the army for twelve years. On his third tour of Afghanistan he was a Joint Fires Controller, with the high-pressure job of bringing down artillery and air strikes in close proximity to his own troops. Based in an area of northern Helmand that was riddled with Taliban leaders, he walked into danger with every patrol, determined to protect them. Then one morning, in brutal close quarter combat, everything changed . . . In We Were Warriors Johnny takes us from his commando training to the heat, blood and chaos of battle. With brutal honesty, he describes what it is like to risk your life every day, pushing through the fear that follows watching your friends die. He took the fight back to the enemy with a relentless efficiency that came at a high personal cost. Back in the UK, seeing the inadequate care available for veterans and their families, he was inspired to run for Parliament in the hope he could improve their plight. Unflinching, action-packed and laced with wry humour, We Were Warriors is a compelling read.
Henry Lasoski, an officer in the Polish army, was there on the first day of World War II, thrusting his bayonet awkwardly into a German soldier hours after Hitler's army invaded his homeland in 1939. And Jacques Smith was there on the last, a member of the honor guard aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the documents of surrender in 1945. From start to finish, this chronicle of fifty-three personal testimonies illuminates the Second World War in a way no mere accumulation of facts can.
In a journalistic tour de force, Elizabeth Mullener found eyewitnesses to virtually every major event of World War II, and she found them all in one American city -- New Orleans. The people she writes about are not grand heroes or prime movers. They are young men shaking in their foxholes, young women stitching up wounded soldiers, and children facing a world gone topsy-turvy.
And they saw it all. They witnessed the London Blitz and the siege of Stalingrad; the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Bataan Death March; the battle of Iwo Jima and the Nuremberg trials; the Normandy invasion and parties at the USO. Their memories are powerful. Harold Eck recalls sharks grazing his legs as he treaded water for four days after the USS Indianapolis sank in the Pacific Ocean. Anthony DeLucca saw bodies stacked like cordwood at Buchenwald. Christine Strevinsky slid a knife through the neck of a Nazi commandant at the age of nine. Frank Rosato played "The Missouri Waltz" for Harry Truman at Potsdam.
All poignantly related through Mullener's graceful and compelling prose, the episodes in War Stories provide an unusually intimate history of World War II and a direct, visceral connection tothe central event of the twentieth century.
Moscow in the late 1970s: one by one, CIA assets are disappearing. The perils of American arrogance, mixed with bureaucratic infighting, had left the country unspeakably vulnerable to ultra-sophisticated Russian electronic surveillance.. The Spy in Moscow Station tells of a time when―much like today―Russian spycraft was proving itself far ahead of the best technology the U.S. had to offer.
This is the true story of unorthodox, underdog intelligence officers who fought an uphill battle against their government to prove that the KGB had pulled off the most devastating and breathtakingly thorough penetration of U.S. national security in history.
Incorporating declassified internal CIA memos and diplomatic cables, this suspenseful narrative reads like a thriller―but real lives were at stake, and every twist is true as the US and USSR attempt to wrongfoot each other in eavesdropping technology and tradecraft. The book also carries a chilling warning for the present: like the State and CIA officers who were certain their "sweeps" could detect any threat in Moscow, we don't know what we don't know.
Born in the US to Iraqi parents, Haider Ala Hamoudi brings an insider's perspective to America's war in Iraq. During the war, he lived in Baghdad with relatives who were intimately involved in the unfolding political process, including his uncle, Hummam Hamoudi, who became chair of the Iraqi Constitutional Committee, and his cousin, Ahmed Chalabi, one of the most prominent Iraqi exiles to return after the fall of the previous regime. Hamoudi saw firsthand the frustrations and fears that plagued Iraqi civilians. At the same time, as an American in Iraq on a USAID-funded contract, he worked closely with American administrators regularly, and saw the situation from their point of view as well. This book offers a critical look at what went wrong in Iraq from a person who was there.
In her fascinating memories of an extremely unusual upbringing spent travelling the world, Janet Buchanan-Wilson takes the reader on a true odyssey -- from her pre-war early years in Japan, via Australia, India, America, China -- and Cumberland -- to Oxford University in the mid-1950's. The many wartime and post-war hardships and deprivations are detailed with humour, and complex family relationships are explored with honesty and insight.
'A story with so much inherent drama... a kaleidoscopic cold war story.' The Guardian In the summer of 1962, one year after the rise of the Berlin Wall, a group of daring young West Germans risked prison, Stasi torture and even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Then, as the world's press heard about the secret projects, two television networks raced to be the first to document them from the inside, funding two separate tunnels for exclusive rights to film the escapes. In response, President John F. Kennedy and his administration, wary of anything that might raise tensions and force a military confrontation with the Soviets, maneuvered to quash both documentaries. As Greg Mitchell's riveting narrative unfolds, we meet extraordinary characters: the legendary cyclist who became East Berlin's most wanted man; the tunneller who had already served four years in the East German gulag; the Stasi informer who betrays the `CBS tunnel'; the young East Berliner who escapes with her baby, then marries one of the tunnellers; and an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English Channel. Capturing the hopes and fears of everyday Berliners, the chilling reach of the Stasi secret police, and the political tensions of the Cold War, The Tunnels is breaking history, a propulsive read whose themes still reverberate today.
Approximately 2.5 million men and women have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the service of the U.S. War on Terror. Marian Eide and Michael Gibler have collected and compiled personal combat accounts from some of these war veterans. In modern warfare no deployment meets the expectations laid down by stories of Appomattox, Ypres, Iwo Jima, or Tet. Stuck behind a desk or the wheel of a truck, many of today's veterans feel they haven't even been to war though they may have listened to mortars in the night or dodged improvised explosive devices during the day. When a drone is needed to verify a target's death or bullets are sprayed like grass seed, military offensives can lack the immediacy that comes with direct contact. After Combat bridges the gap between sensationalized media and reality by telling war's unvarnished stories. Participating soldiers, sailors, marines, and air force personnel (retired, on leave, or at the beginning of military careers) describe combat in the ways they believe it should be understood. In this collection of interviews, veterans speak anonymously with pride about their own strengths and accomplishments, with gratitude for friendships and adventures, and also with shame, regret, and grief, while braving controversy, misunderstanding, and sanction. In the accounts of these veterans, Eide and Gibler seek to present what Vietnam veteran and writer Tim O'Brien calls a "true war story" - one without obvious purpose or moral imputation and independent of civilian logic, propaganda goals, and even peacetime convention.
In King of Spies, prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden, reveals one of the most astonishing -- and previously untold -- spy stories of the twentieth century. Donald Nichols was "a one man war", according to his US Air Force commanding general. He won the Distinguished Service Cross, along with a chest full of medals for valor and initiative in the Korean War. His commanders described Nichols as the bravest, most resourceful and effective spymaster of that forgotten war. But there is far more to Donald Nichols' story than first meets the eye . . . Based on long-classified government records, unsealed court records, and interviews in Korea and the U.S., King of Spies tells the story of the reign of an intelligence commander who lost touch with morality, legality, and even sanity, if military psychiatrists are to be believed. Donald Nichols was America's Kurtz. A seventh-grade dropout, he created his own black-ops empire, commanding a small army of hand-selected spies, deploying his own makeshift navy, and ruling over it as a clandestine king, with absolute power over life and death. He claimed a "legal license to murder"-and inhabited a world of mass executions and beheadings, as previously unpublished photographs in the book document. Finally, after 11 years, the U.S. military decided to end Nichols's reign. He was secretly sacked and forced to endure months of electroshock in a military hospital in Florida. Nichols told relatives the American government was trying to destroy his memory. King of Spies looks to answer the question of how an uneducated, non-trained, non-experienced man could end up as the number-one US spymaster in South Korea and why his US commanders let him get away with it for so long . . .
Rob Driscoll, former sergeant with 42 Commando, Royal Marines, served tours in Iraq, Kuwait and Kosovo. A born leader of fighting men, with the medals to prove it, he also endured three tours in Afghanistan. The third of those will go down in history as one of the UK military's darkest hours, for it marked the first time a British serviceman has been tried for a murder on the battlefield since the Second World War. That man was Sergeant Alexander Blackman, Rob Driscoll's friend and fellow NCO in 42 Commando, and on the day in question they were commanding patrols within a few hundred yards of each other. Few men know what really went on that day in Helmand Province. Rob Driscoll is one. And in his book - with Blackman's blessing - he reveals all. Yet Fire a Lethal Shot is more than a compelling insight into one of the most controversial rulings in recent military history. It is a clear-eyed account of life on active service with the Royal Marines, of incursions into war-torn countries where chaos and anarchy ruled - and of risking your life daily for politicians back home who won't support you. In charting its author's career as a Royal Marine Commando, it unflinchingly demonstrates the real-life horrors of engaging at close quarters with enemies such as the Taliban - as well as the dangers that politics can bring to the ordinary fighting serviceman. Sergeants Blackman and Driscoll were two sides of the same coin. One came home a hero, the other a wanted man. But for circumstance, it might have been the other way round.
The shocking true story of a brutal kidnapping high in the mountains of Kashmir that marked the beginning of modern terrorism. In July 1995, ten backpackers journeyed into the foothills of the Himalayas, trekking to an idyllic campsite known as the Meadow. But their search for tranquillity was savagely interrupted when they were taken hostage by Islamic extremists. Using diaries, letters, classified police reports and interviews with the jihadis themselves, The Meadow traces the escalating tension between kidnappers, victims and police, while examining the high-level conspiracies surrounding the abduction. It tells of the single escape attempt and how - with a brutal beheading - the hostage takers took an irreversible step into the abyss. The shocking true story of the crisis that foreshadowed a new epoch of global terrorism, this is the book that forced Intelligence and government authorities to uncover what really happened in the Meadow.
Hailed as one of the finest books to emerge from the Vietnam War, If I Die in a Combat Zone is a fascinating insight into the lives of the soldiers caught in the conflict. First published in 1973, this intensely personal novel about one foot soldier's tour of duty in Vietnam established Tim O'Brien's reputation as the outstanding chronicler of the Vietnam experience for a generation of Americans. From basic training to the front line and back again, he takes the reader on an unforgettable journey - walking the minefields of My Lai, fighting the heat and the snipers in an alien land, crawling into the ghostly tunnels - as he explores the ambiguities of manhood and morality in a war no one believes in.
An urgent, insightful account of the human side of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine by seasoned war reporter Tim Judah Making his way from the Polish border in the west, through the capital city and the heart of the 2014 revolution, to the eastern frontline near the Russian border, Tim Judah brings a rare glimpse of the reality behind the headlines. Along the way he talks to the people living through the conflict - mothers, soldiers, businessmen, poets, politicians - whose memories of a contested past shape their attitudes, allegiances and hopes for the future. Together, their stories paint a vivid picture of what the second largest country in Europe feels like in wartime: a nation trapped between powerful forces, both political and historical. 'Visceral, gripping, heartbreaking' Simon Sebag Montefiore 'Haunting . . . timely . . . Interviewing a wide range of people who have been caught up in the recent conflict, Judah concentrates skilfully and affectingly on the human cost' Alexander Larman, Observer 'Comes close to the master, Ryszard Kapuscinski' Roger Boyes, The Times 'A kaleidoscopic portrait . . . Judah looks at the present - what Ukraine looks and feels like now' Marcus Tanner, Independent
A flash blinds me... We are lost in a chaos of flying mud... Smoke, filth, confusion, racket I spit and splutter and swear... Oh Christ I think I'm flamin' well dead.' This is the compelling story of Lieutenant Joseph 'Darkie' Maxwell DCM, MC and Bar, VC -- the second highest decorated Australian soldier of the First World War. Meticulously researched by historian John Ramsland, Maxwell's colourful life is traced from his childhood on the Hunter coalfields until his death at age 71 in a soldier's settlement home in Matraville Sydney. Maxwell was a vivid storyteller who wrote Hells Bells and Mademoiselles, telling of his experiences in the war. In telling Maxwell's story, Ramsland has uncovered many forgotten documents to piece together an extraordinary life of an extraordinary man.
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