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Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs

Cover of Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs

Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs

The Unknown History of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS
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"Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs is a superbly told story of the men and women of the OSS. They helped write the book on special operations. I was struck by the similarity of the context of their stories to ones I've experienced in different combat situations. This book is a must-read for those in the special operations business today and anyone else who wants to learn about the exploits of the real warriors of the OSS during WW II. Only by understanding the deeds of those who have gone before us can we appreciate the sacrifices made that paved the way for the outstanding records established by present-day special warriors."—Captain Robert A. Gormly, USN (Ret.), author of Combat Swimmer and former SEAL team commander.

"Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs is a superbly told story of the men and women of the OSS. They helped write the book on special operations. I was struck by the similarity of the context of their stories to ones I've experienced in different combat situations. This book is a must-read for those in the special operations business today and anyone else who wants to learn about the exploits of the real warriors of the OSS during WW II. Only by understanding the deeds of those who have gone before us can we appreciate the sacrifices made that paved the way for the outstanding records established by present-day special warriors."—Captain Robert A. Gormly, USN (Ret.), author of Combat Swimmer and former SEAL team commander.

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About the Author-
  • Patrick K. O'Donnell is the award-winning author of eight books, including the highly acclaimed account of the Battle of Fallujah, We Were One. He has provided historical consulting for Band of Brothers and multiple documentaries. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Say the word "spies" and most people think of computers and satellites. Not so during WWII, when the U.S. created the Office of Special Services (OSS), a group of agents who helped prepare the Allies for their most important missions, including the landing at Normandy. These men--and often women--overcame great obstacles, and their generally untold stories not only are fascinating, they were critical for success in the war. The OSS's actions also set the stage for all the spies and operatives who would follow them. Christopher Lane's reading gives proper due to these agents, who did everything from acts of sabotage to seducing military leaders in order to learn secret codes. He clearly relishes these tales, and his interest and enthusiasm for Patrick K. O'Donnell's superb book shine through at every turn. D.J.S. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 1, 2004
    No longer satisfied with gentlemanly intelligence gathering, with the advent of WWII the United States changed its espionage policy and opted for more daring tactics like decoding secret messages and detonating exploding cigars. Under the guidance of decorated WWI hero William"Wild Bill" Donovan, the Office of Special Services, the CIA's predecessor, assembled a motley assortment of agents who set the stage for the Allied armies' most important missions, like the invasion of North Africa and the storming of Normandy. Through first person narratives from a slew of OSS operatives, O'Donnell explores the thrilling world of spying before satellites and computer hacking boxed agents into cubicles. The WWII OSS hauled hardened criminals out of jail to burgle enemy embassies and culled spies from the Free French who fled to England and North Africa. The sophisticated seductress"Cynthia" used her sex appeal to gather ciphers for breaking Polish, Italian and Vichy codes from high-ranking military men. Elsewhere, Virginia Hall supplied the French Resistance with arms and continually sabotaged the Gestapo while limping with a wooden-leg. The book also chronicles psychological operations by the Allied"Sauerkraut agents" who demoralized German troops by spreading rumors of defeat, disease and desperation. The chapter on the OSS' covert weapons, like exploding baseballs and umbrella pistols, vividly recalls 007's pre-mission encounters with"Q." This book is far more than a simple historical survey and reads like a satisfying cloak and dagger yarn, making it a good choice both history and mystery buffs.

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Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs
Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs
The Unknown History of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS
Patrick K. O'Donnell
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