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Bodyguard of Lies: The Extraordinary True Story Behind D-Day

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  42 reviews
On June 6, 1944-D-Day-six thousand Allied ships, the largest fleet in history, arrived off the French coast to begin the liberation of Europe. To their enormous relief, the Allies had obtained complete tactical surprise; the Nazi eagle slept. D-Day, which could have been one of history's bloodiest disasters, became instead one of its greatest victories.How this astonishing ...more
Paperback, 960 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Lyons Press (first published 1975)
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4.37  · 
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 ·  371 ratings  ·  42 reviews


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Jill Hutchinson
The title of this book is taken from a quote by Churchill...."In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies". And this book is about those lies that were used to mislead, betray, and sacrifice during the time leading up to D-Day. The London Controlling Section (LCS) took the lead in creating full scenarios of battles that never happened and troop movements that were non-existent. They flooded Europe with rumor in bits and pieces that were intended, w ...more
Nancy
Anthony Cave Brown's Bodyguard of Lies is a stunning look at World War II and all the secrets, mistakes and successes, both planned and accidental, leading up to D-Day, the invasion of Normandy and the ultimate end of Nazi Germany.
In the beginning, if it had not been for Alan Turing, a half genius, half childlike British experimenter, World War II would have been even harder for the Allies to fight and to win. Turing, whose story has been made into the movie, "The Imitation Game," broke the Ge
...more
Bob Mayer
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I arrived for my first Special Forces assignment, my battalion commander gave me a copy of this book to read. It's a superb look at the covert operations during World War II by the British and, lesser so, the Americans.
This book helped give me the paranoid mindset someone operating in the covert world needs to have. You have to consider whether every mission you are given is what it appears to be.
The title comes from a saying by Winston Churchill, that I like so much, I used it for the titl
...more
John Pye
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The tag line 'The extraordinary true story behind D-Day' hints at only small part of the amazing content of this masterpiece by Anthony Cave Brown. It was first published in 1972 and my early and tattered copy is a treasured possession. I believe it to be one of the first publications to divulge the breaking of the German Enigma codes and also discusses amazing misinformation operations such as Mincemeat and other daring ideas dreamed up by SOE.
Heydrich, Canaris and others come under the microsc
...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, history, war
Bodyguard of Lies is a massive brick of a book focusing on the deadly game of deceit and espionage between British and German intelligence agencies around the D-Day Landings. While Fortitude North, the well-known creation of a fake army under the command of General Patton to pin Nazi reserves as Pas de Calais during the invasion of Normandy, is the climax of the book, Brown covers everything, from the early days of the Phony War, through the desperate aftermath of Dunkirk and the clever ruses in ...more
Herb Hastings
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well written and researched history book that reads like a thriller. Essentially, it is a sad story of people scurrying around trying to avoid World War 2. They fail and the resulting war is catastrophic for the tens of millions of people killed, maimed, displaced, and destroyed. Surprisingly, the saddest figures are the anti Hitler German Generals who tried to overthrow the madman. They kept trying to bring England into their plots but were rebuffed because they weren't trusted and sa ...more
Quinn
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

I was first intrigued by the spy shenanigans in WW2 because of an Imgur post that outlined some of the more bewildering use of agents and deception tactics. One of the comments recommended this book and man, do you get spy shenanigans and more.

I am in awe of the tactics carried out -some of them had me laughing out loud with its sheer audacity... and the fact that it worked!!

I couldn't help but feel a sense of useless frustration and dismay for the Schwarz Kapelle. They tried so hard!!
...more
Tom S
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I purchased this book for $2 and paid $15 for shipping as I was able to source it from a small local library branch in Massachusetts US and had it shipped to Canada. I am glad to have gone to the effort as I deeply enjoyed this book. For me this book was more than what I believe the author intended as in addition to detailing the deception and stratagem of WWII by the Allied Forces, the book was also filled with plot, providing me a much clearer picture of the flow of events in WWII - I simply h ...more
Mark Smith
Incredibly comprehensive and well written. Truly stunning even trying to imagine the extent of the deceptions used. Brings a new perspective on the success of the allies in the euro theatre. EG the role of Canaris, head of the Abwehr (German military intelligence service,) was HUGE. EG how we shunned the Schwarze Kapelle (a group of anti-Nazi conspirators that contained many high ranking officers, and that executed the attempted assassination of Hitler and Valkerie.) EG the role of ULTRA. EG the ...more
Stephanie
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This well-written tome details the striking brilliance of D-Day and its years of planning and laying of the most complicated groundwork imaginable. I was amazed at the patience, intricacy and secrecy of the operation. There were so many important details I didn’t know. While the book is a bit daunting in page count, it reads like a novel. I cannot recommend this more highly for any student of history, and especially WWII.
Djll
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read tons and tons of books on history, but this one is perhaps the best I've committed to. Comprehensive to the nth degree, drawing on sources never seen at the time of its publication, and written in a direct, unprepossessing style. Published in the late 1970s and still a benchmark. Highly recommended.
Alexander McAuliffe
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Incredibly detailed portrait of the Allied strategic, tactical and operational deceptions and campaigns leading up to D-Day. Poignantly illustrates the historical characters involved on all sides, especially Menzies, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Montgomery on the Allied side, and the entire Schwarze Kapelle (German General Staff conspirators against Hitler).
Carol
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is not one to be breezed through, but to be savored and slowly digested. As other reviews have described, the book is packed with information which the author artfully ties together, integrating details of spy tradecraft, the art of subterfuge, personalities and personnages that will fascinate. The book, while ostensibly about Enigma, the ultrasecret, so vital to the Allied victory in WWII, there is so much more. For example, there is a great deal about Canaris, whom I'd heard of, but ...more
Megan
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An amazing account of the events and planning that led to the D-Day invasion at Normandy. There were several deception operations underway to prevent the Nazis from discovering the true location and time of the invasion, in order to give the Allies a chance to succeed. Operation Mincemeat is one of the more famous deception plans, whereby the British took a patriotic corpse (with the family's permission), dressed him in a British military uniform, and gave the body a briefcase full of war plans ...more
Margie Olszewski
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Several years ago, while perusing my dad's excellent library, one filled with biographies of MacArthur and Eisenhower, memoirs of Kissinger and Churchill; books by all the players in the Watergate scandal, Truman, etc., a library where fiction dare not tread, I asked him, what he would recommend for me. He stood and thought for just a moment and then pulled down a huge book filled with fine print and handed it to me. 'Bodyguard of Lies' If you could only read one of these books, this is the one ...more
Daniel Liu
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Be a bit critical of the historical accuracy of this book while reading it. For the most part it is spot on, but, for instance, Cave Brown talks about the apocryphal story of Churchill sacrificing the town of Coventry to German bombers in order to protect the truth of Ultra; in reality, modern accounts doubt if the British knew the location of the attack. They were informed as to its date, but not where the bombs would be dropped. I would attribute this, in part, to the publication date, at a ti ...more
Karen
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a mind-blowing account of the role that deception, espionage, and cryptography played in the European theater of WWII. It's incredibly well researched and detailed and comes in at over 900 pages. There were so many incredible stories in here and I gained a whole new perspective on the war. The only downside for me was that it was so detailed that mind started feeling numb after a while. There are hundreds of people described so no chance that I could remember it all. If you like military ...more
Jane Eales
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was thrilled to be referred to this book when I was researching and trying to make sense of my birth mother's spying story in World War Two. Many questions were answered. It is an extraordinary account of World War Two military intelligence history, and is a book i will treasure because of the insights it gave me, it is a book I dip into again and again for information. I hate war and this brings into sharp focus the futility of war and that man's inhumanity to man knows no bounds.
Betty
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy, war
Whew, finished Book One. Since this was published in 1975 so soon after the release of info on Enigma, I'm guessing that there is more to be learned and possibly some corrections to be made. Even so, this book is a valuable encyclopedia of successes and failures of WWII deceptions. With the exception that you can't read an encyclopedia and Brown has given us a highly readable account. I can't imagine anyone interested in WWII not reading this book.
Erik Graff
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WWII/espionage fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
I read this book because I'd liked Brown's book about British Intelligence and because Father had been a cryptanalyst in both theatres of the second world war.

Although focused on the intelligence services of the UK, USA and Germany leading up to and through the Normandy invasion and subsequent Allied breakthrough, this book actually ranges more widely to include background material necessary to understand the successful mechinations before D-Day.
Larry Loftis
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a classic and a must-read for any Churchill or WWII espionage fan. A. C. Brown is an excellent researcher and while the book doesn't have pace, it is a remarkable reference book. I used it in my own research while writing Into the Lion's Mouth (about double agent Dusko Popov).
Jacob
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Always fascinating, sometimes frustrating (from a historical "WHY" perspective), incredibly detailed and very well written.

It's the story of the intelligence war between the allies (mainly the British) and the axis during WWII, with a focus on D-Day.
Walt
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had not heard of this book before. I was rummaging around a parking lot book sale, bought it for a dollar. From the moment I picked it up I couldn't put it down. I found the book compelling, informative as well as illuminating a good read for any one wanting to know more about history
Finlay
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Churchill: "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." This account of the Enigma machine, the plot within German high command to assassinate Hitler, and the coordinated deception in WWII, truly reads stranger than fiction.
Jayce
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion, the best book about the spy game during WWII. Be prepared with a strong stomach!
Trevor
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cryptonomicon fans
Fascinating look into the "cloak-and-dagger" operations of World War II, especially for the European theatre of war from an American/British perspective.
Ivan Rees
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was amazing the amount of lies and deception that went behind Operation Overload.A damn good read.
Nick Gayeski
Aug 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tremendous history of the intelligence work behind WWII
Claude S
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about the subterfuge and espionage during WWII. A must read for any WWII buff. Extremely well written. Covers everything from code-breaking to double agents.
Walker
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Andy
Shelves: raids-ww-ii
Britain were superb at fooling the Nazis: General George Patton commanded FUSAG aimed at Calais across the Channel. All not true, but sold to the Nazizs as true.
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