Briefly, I have to say that this is one of the most fascinating books of history I've read in a very long time. You don't even need to be a WWII buff...moreBriefly, I have to say that this is one of the most fascinating books of history I've read in a very long time. You don't even need to be a WWII buff to appreciate it -- I'm not -- but it's simply amazing. The basic story is this: it's 1943, and the Allies have plans to invade Sicily to get a foothold in Europe and defeat Hitler. But since Sicily is the most obvious place for an Allied landing, Ewen Montagu and Charles Cholmondeley (it's pronounced "Chumley") of the Naval Intelligence section of the Admiralty decide to dupe the Germans into thinking that Greece is the actual target -- and with the help of a fiction writer, a plan is born. The British Navy will ferry a dead body in the guise of a Navy officer carrying misleading documents to the coast of Spain, where the body would be found and the documents leaked to German spies there and hopefully believed. The idea is that the Germans will redeploy a large percentage of their military forces currently on Sicily elsewhere, saving countless Allied lives. How the plan was conceived and how it was put into action is an amazing story in itself, but Macintyre does so much more -- he manages to infuse the story with a bit of suspense and delivers human portraits of all those involved, including the Germans, rounding out this remarkable story. The drawback to this one is that often the story gets bogged down with a little too much detail (like the description of an entertainer doing his show), breaking up the flow of the narrative, but otherwise it is definitely one of those stories you won't soon forget.Highly recommended. (less)
as usual, this is a short review; for a somewhat longer post click here.
My many thanks to Random House for sending me a copy of this book. It is an ey...moreas usual, this is a short review; for a somewhat longer post click here.
My many thanks to Random House for sending me a copy of this book. It is an eye-opening, well-researched and intelligently-constructed history of the FBI in its role as a "secret intelligence service." The book examines how the Bureau has long been operating outside of the rule of law -- "the foundation on which America was built", and offers its readers a look at the ongoing struggle between national security and civil liberty. It also details the relationships the FBI directors (especially J. Edgar Hoover) have had with American presidents since the Bureau's inception. Although I may not personally agree with the author's final conclusion, it's still a very well-written book.
Enemies is incredibly interesting, fleshing out bits and pieces of history with which I'm somewhat familiar, and it offers anyone remotely interested in the topics he covers a great deal of fodder for further reading. It's very reader friendly, and despite some reviews I've read about it being snooze material, it will grab the attention of anyone who's interested. What you won't find here are any juicy pieces of speculation about Hoover and his sex life, which is just as well -- it's all hearsay anyway and it's also irrelevant. I think, though, that Weiner might be looking through his rose-colored glasses -- an FBI manual of operations is all well and good, but time and again, and he shows it himself, when push comes to shove in a matter of national security, the government can exercise greater powers that don't always mesh with our constitutional rights. (less)