9780195387049

A Genius for Deception How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780195387049

  • ISBN10:

    019538704X

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-11-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

In February 1942, intelligence officer Victor Jones erected 150 tents behind British lines in North Africa. "Hiding tanks in Bedouin tents was an old British trick," writes Nicholas Rankin; German general Erwin Rommell not only knew of the ploy, but had copied it himself. Jones knew that Rommell knew. In fact, he counted on it--for these tents were empty. With the deception that he was carrying out a deception, Jones made a weak point look like a trap. In A Genius for Deception, Nicholas Rankin offers a lively and comprehensive history of how Britain bluffed, tricked, and spied its way to victory in two world wars. As Rankin shows, a coherent program of strategic deception emerged in World War I, resting on the pillars of camouflage, propaganda, secret intelligence, and special forces. All forms of deception found an avid sponsor in Winston Churchill, who carried his enthusiasm for deceiving the enemy into World War II. Rankin vividly recounts such little-known episodes as the invention of camouflage by two French artist-soldiers, the creation of dummy airfields for the Germans to bomb during the Blitz, and the fabrication of an army that would supposedly invade Greece. Strategic deception would be key to a number of WWII battles, culminating in the massive misdirection that proved critical to the success of the D-Day invasion in 1944. Deeply researched and written with an eye for telling detail, A Genius for Deception shows how British used craft and cunning to help win the most devastating wars in human history. Advance Praise for A Genius for Deception and Nicholas Rankin: "This is a story clamouring to be told. I could not stop reading this book once I had begun." -Doris Lessing "Mr Rankin goes poking and probing the lesser-known facts of the two World Wars. What an entertaining journey he provides." -Len Deighton "Exemplary." -Max Hastings

Author Biography


Nicholas Rankin is the author of Dead Man's Chess and Telegram from Guernica. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
The War of Nervesp. 3
The Nature of Camouflagep. 24
Engineering Opinionp. 34
Hiding and Snipingp. 49
Deception in the Dardanellesp. 60
Steel Treesp. 77
Guile and Guerrillap. 94
The Twice-promised Landp. 109
A Dazzle of Zebrasp. 125
Lying for Lloyd Georgep. 142
Deceivers Deceivedp. 160
Wizards of WW2p. 177
Curtain Upp. 201
Winston Is Backp. 211
Hiding the Silverp. 226
A Great Blow Between the Eyesp. 233
Commando Daggerp. 246
British Resistancep. 254
Fire over Englandp. 278
Radio Propagandap. 285
'A' Force: North Africap. 312
Impersonationsp. 336
The Garden of Forking Pathsp. 353
The Hinge of Fatep. 360
Mincemeatp. 373
The Doublep. 384
Overlord and Fortitudep. 392
V for Vergeltungp. 409
Epiloguep. 414
Source Notesp. 423
Author's Note and Acknowledgementsp. 441
Indexp. 445
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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