Book Reviews – Mike Whittall

Growing up as a post war baby boy I was naturally attracted to war comics then true war books, especially prison camp escape stories helped by secret agents and spy networks in mysterious corners of Europe. At a later stage I discovered my father’s ‘war books’ – the cruelty in the Stalags, the cruelty of the Japanese, the German treatment of the Jews, and the bravery of our allied secret agents hidden throughout Europe.

Amazingly, having satisfied my craving for this genre I found myself reading very little about WW2 for the next 50 years until recently I came across a couple of SAS (Special Air Service) paperbacks. Here I found myself learning so much “real” stuff about WW2 where planning and strategies, tactics and trickery were involved, clever plans devised by divergent thinkers and planners in darkened backrooms, where successful outcomes relied on outsmarting the enemy.

I had just finished the first two of the SAS books and was looking out for a third when on my doorstep I discovered two new books awaiting reviews. Their arrival proved to be very timely.

Deceptions of World War 11 Peter Darman

Secret Heroes of World War 11 Eric Chaline

Deceptions of World War 11” by Peter Darman, and “Secret Heroes of World War 11” by Eric Chaline are marketed as a matching pair – both A5 hardbacks with dustjackets. The contents are extensive – many WW2 photos, maps and features on key individuals. Among them you’ll find Nancy Wake and the lesser known Alan Turing, also Douglas Bader and many others lesser known with stories the world needs to know about.

These two books make up a wonderful reference resources as well as fascinating historical reading for those families with youngsters growing up wanting to know more about man’s inhumanity to man, and about a very tragic time in our more recent history.

I strongly recommend this pair of books be on hand as a ready reference in every home with children growing up or with ancestors who took part like my father and his brother did.

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