topher

I normally think of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books as the hors d’oeuvres of literature. Small, tasty, quickly eaten with little real impact the person. Secrets and Spies takes that genre, and develops an invaluabe piece of history.

Published in 1964, Secrets and Spies is a collection of personal accounts, historical novelizations, and documentary style writing about the secrets and spies of World War II. There’s also a good collection of photos of significant people, regardless of their fame. There are several photos taken surreptitiously of Nazi spies in the US, having meetings.

The stories are generally 3-5 pages in length, and were written at a variety of times. Some were written during the war, and you can sense the uncertainty and desperation of the writers. Some were written years after. Some were written by Axis folk, some by Allies folk. Some of the articles outline heros of the Allies, and some the amazing exploits of the enemy.

The stories don’t get into deep crypto a la Cryptonomicon. It’s discussed, but in true Condensed Book form, the stories deal more with the actions of people, rather than the science behind it all.

Secrets and Spies is a broad overview of the thought and planning behind World War II, written at a time when it was fresh in the mind, by people who were there. As with the previous review, it’s the collection that makes it valuable.

Apparently it can still be purchased, though if I know you, and you PROMISE to be careful, you can borrow mine.

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