A House For Spies: SIS Operations into Occupied France from a Sussex Farmhouse

Edward Wake-Walker - 2011
     From 1941 to 1944, Bignor Manor, a farmhouse in Sussex provided board and lodging for men and women of the French Resistance before they were flown by moonlight into occupied France. Barbara Bertram, whose husband was a conducting officer for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), became hostess for these daring agents and their pilots during their brief stopovers in their house. But who were these men and women that passed through the Bertram’s house? And what activities did they conduct whilst in France that meant that so many of them never returned? Edward Wake-Walker charts the experiences of numerous agents, such as Gilbert Renault, Christian Pineau and Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, and the networks of operatives that they created that provided top-secret intelligence on German defences and naval bases, U-boats, as well as Hitler’s devastating new weapons, the V-1 and V-2 flying bombs. A House For Spies provides fascinating insight into the lives of SIS agents and their Lysander pilots who provided invaluable intelligence to Allied forces. This is a much-forgotten aspect of the Second World War that is only now being told by Edward Wake-Walker. “Utterly fascinating, very moving and funny. I couldn't have enjoyed it more.” — Hugh Grant “Edward Wake-Walker's meticulously researched chronicles of desperate resistance, audacity, duty, determination and daring are a valuable addition to the history of World War II” — Bel Mooney, Daily Mail “It kept me up at night as I wanted to know what happened to all the various characters [brought] so admirably back to life” — Russell England, Director of Bletchley Park: Codebreaking's Forgotten Genius and Operation Mincemeat

I Was Hitler's Pilot: The Memoirs of Hans Baur

Hans Baur - 2013
    Hitler, who loathed flying, felt safe with Baur and would allow no one else to pilot him. As a result, an intimate relationship developed between the two men and it is this, which gives these memoirs special significance. Hitler relaxed in Baur's company and talked freely of his plans and of his real opinions about his friends and allies.Baur was also present during some of the most salient moments of the Third Reich; the R�hm Putsch, the advent of Eva Braun, Ribbentrop's journey to Moscow, the B�rgerbr�ukeller attempt on Hitler's life; and when war came, he flew Hitler from front to front. He remained in Hitler's service right up to the final days in the F�hrerbunker. In a powerful account of Hitler's last hours, Baur describes his final discussions with Hitler before his suicide; and his last meeting with Magda Goebbels in the tortuous moments before she killed her three children. Remarkably, throughout it all Baur's loyalty to the F�hrer never wavered. His memoirs capture these events in all their fascinating and disturbing detail.

Kriegie: Prisoner of War

Kenneth Simmons - 2014
    Pilot to crew. Bail out! Bail out!” On 19th October, 1944, 2/Lt Kenneth W. Simmons was forced to jump from the damaged B-24 aircraft while in a bombing raid over Germany. Once he landed he quickly became a ‘kriegie’, a prisoner of war, which he remained until General Patton’s men freed him in late April 1945. Much of these seven months of captivity were spent in the dismal conditions of the prison camp Stalag Luft II. Simmons provides fascinating insight into what life was like be an American prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, from undergoing interrogations to suffering cruelty and abuse from the guards. He records not only the mundane day to day life of the prisoners but also their private projects, from forging documents to using the latrine to dispose of waste material from their tunneling projects. “steadily interesting … due to the small details of everyday existence” Kirkus Reviews “The march of death … is one of the most impressive scenes to be portrayed of World War II.” Houston Chronicle “a story of hellish and holy experiences undergone by the men who became PW of the Nazis.” Daily Democrat Kenneth Simmons was an American airman with the 8th Air Force who was forced to bail out of his plane just north of Bad Kreuznach in Germany. His work Kreigie records his experiences as a prisoner of war and was first published in 1960. Simmons passed away in 1969.

The Crew: The Story of a Lancaster Bomber Crew

David Price - 2020
     ****************************** The Crew, based on interviews with Ken Cook, the crew's sole surviving member, recounts the wartime exploits of the members of an Avro Lancaster crew between 1942 and the war's end. Gloucestershire-born bomb aimer Ken Cook, hard-bitten Australian pilot Jim Comans, Navigator Don Bowes, Upper Gunner George Widdis, Tail Gunner 'Jock' Bolland, Flight Engineer Ken Randle and Radio Operator Roy Woollford were seven ordinary young men living in extraordinary times, risking their lives in freedom's cause in the dark skies above Hitler's Reich. From their earliest beginnings – in places as far apart as a Cotswold village and the suburbs of Sydney – through the adventure of training in North America and the dread and danger of the forty-five bombing raids they flew with 97 Squadron, David Price describes the crew's wartime experiences with human sympathy allied to a secure technical understanding of one of the RAF's most iconic aircraft. The drama and anxiety of individual missions – to Kassel, Munich and Augsburg as well as Berlin – is evoked with thrilling immediacy; while the military events and strategic decisions that drove the RAF's area bombing campaign against Nazi Germany are interwoven deftly with the narrative of the crew's operational careers. ****************************** Reviews: 'A sensitive account of the bomber's life ... Price has given the bomber offensive a human face. This book [...] has a heart and soul' The Times. 'A fascinating and fast-paced account of the exploits of an Avro Lancaster bomber crew from 97 Squadron RAF' The Herald. 'A remarkable insight into the bravery, determination and skill of British Bomber Command crews during WWII' Waterstones.

Dunkirk: A Miracle of Deliverance

David Boyle - 2017
     As the Germans closed in on the Allies, trapping them on the beaches of Dunkirk, it seemed the entire British army would be obliterated. Such a loss would almost certainly force the British to surrender and allow a Nazi invasion of the UK. Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay planned a mass evacuation across the English Channel, but with the Germans drawing ever closer and intense air raids from the Luftwaffe, escape seemed all but impossible. But with a combination of excellent planning, luck, and an almost inconceivable bit of help from none other than Adolf Hitler himself, Operation Dynamo was underway. Over 900 boats sailed to Dunkirk - including destroyers, ferries, fishing boats and the famous “little boats of Dunkirk” – and, across nine tense days, rescued 338,226 soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk in what remains the biggest evacuation in military history. This brilliantly researched book by historian David Boyle recounts each fraught day of the famous rescue mission that Winston Churchill famously called a ‘miracle of deliverance’. Praise for David Boyle 'A wonderfully elegant and pithy reappraisal of the “miracle” that saved Britain' Saul David ‘Exhilarating’ - Daily Mail David Boyle is a British author and journalist who writes mainly about history and new ideas in economics, money, business and culture. He lives in Crystal Palace, London. His books include ‘Unheard Unseen: Warfare in the Dardanelles’, ‘Towards the Setting Sun: The Race for America’ and ‘The Age to Come’.

Vanished Hero: The Life, War and Mysterious Disappearance of America’s WWII Strafing King

Jay A. Stout - 2016

A Spitfire Girl: One of the World's Greatest Female ATA Ferry Pilots Tells Her Story

Mary Ellis - 2016
    On one occasion Mary delivered a Wellington bomber to an airfield, and as she climbed out of the aircraft the RAF ground crew ran over to her and demanded to know where the pilot was! Mary said simply: ‘I am the pilot!’ Unconvinced the men searched the aircraft before they realized a young woman had indeed flown the bomber all by herself.After the war she accepted a secondment to the RAF, being chosen as one of the first pilots, and one of only three women, to take the controls of the new Meteor fast jet. By 1950 the farmer's daughter from Oxfordshire with a natural instinct to fly became Europe's first female air commandant.In this authorized biography the woman who says she kept in the background during her ATA years and left all the glamour of publicity to her colleagues, finally reveals all about her action-packed career which spans almost a century of aviation, and her love for the skies which, even in her nineties, never falters.She says: ‘I am passionate for anything fast and furious. I always have been since the age of three and I always knew I would fly. The day I stepped into a Spitfire was a complete joy and it was the most natural thing in the world for me.’

Escaping with His Life: From Dunkirk to D-Day & Beyond

Nicholas Young - 2019
    Having survived the retreat to and evacuation from Dunkirk, he volunteered for the newly formed Commandos and took part in their first operation, the raid on the Lofoten Islands. He fought and was captured in Tunisia. He went on the run before his POW camp at Fontanellato was taken over by the Nazis after the September 1943 Italian armistice. He spent six months on the run in the Apennine mountains aided by brave and selfless Italians. Many of whom were actively fighting their occupiers. He eventually reached Allied lines but not before several of his companions were tragically killed by both German and American fire.On return to England he immediately signed up for the invasion of North West Europe and despite being wounded eventually fought through to Germany.It is thanks to his son's research that Major Young's story can now be told. It is an inspiring and thrilling account which demands to be read.

Behind the Fireplace: Memoirs of a girl working in the Dutch Resistance

Andrew Scott - 2016
    The youngest daughter, Kieks, joined the Resistance, delivering illegal newspapers, guiding British parachutists around The Hague and preparing safe houses for Special Forces who were dropped in from England. As the War continued, she fell in love with a Resistance commander, and worked with him to rescue wounded colleagues, steal weapons from German arms dumps and move weapons around the country. They had a tumultuous parting and she continued her work, acting as a courier with a two hundred km bike ride to the north of Holland. When she returned home, she appreciated how much the war had changed her and her boyfriend, and prepared to try a reconciliation.She escaped a firing squad four times, and survived the war, mentally scarred by her experiences. She sought help, but the help she was offered came in a poisoned chalice, and she kept her secret to herself for almost fifty years.Her family in Holland was recognised by Yad Vashem, the Israeli organisation that records those who saved Jews from the Holocaust, and she was awarded a pension for her work in the Resistance by the Dutch foundation Stichting 1940-1945. It was only when these organisations acknowledged the truth of her claims that she had the confidence to tell her family of the events from long ago.

World War II: The Resistance

C. David North - 2015
    It was not until 1942 that widely dispersed underground organizations would band together to form a united opposition to the occupying Germans. It was not until then that resistance would become the Resistance - a disciplined multi-national movement that would play a significant part in the outcome of World War II. In each occupied nation, resistance groups would grow, gathering and sending information to London, planning increasingly complex sabotage operations, and assisting thousands of people, particularly Jews, in fleeing Nazi-occupied territories. Their actions would eventually become a focused counteroffensive against the German army in 1944, when Allied troops gathered in Great Britain to prepare for the invasion of France. As their widespread activity weakened German outposts in France and other occupied countries, the Allies would gain the foothold they needed to win the war. This is their story.

A Raid Over Berlin

John Martin - 2018
    It must have been at this moment that I thought I was going to die because I became remarkably calm.’ Trapped inside a burning Lancaster bomber, 20,000 feet above Berlin, airman John Martin consigned himself to his fate and turned his thoughts to his fiancée back home. In a miraculous turn of events, however, the twenty-one year old was thrown clear of his disintegrating aeroplane and found himself parachuting into the heart of Nazi Germany. He was soon to be captured and began his period as a prisoner of war.This engaging and compulsively readable true-life account of a Second World War airman, who cheated death in the sky, only to face interrogation and the prospect of being shot by the Gestapo, before having to endure months of hardship as a prisoner of war.

On Being German: A Personal Journey Into the German Experience

Doris Pena-Cruz - 2021
    In my younger years I avoided that subject, be it in literature or in entertainment, whenever I possibly could. That was not easy. Television was full of programs in which Germans looked stupid and heinous. My own children watched these things with glee; I fled into another room. Since I have always read a lot, I was at least aware of the avalanche of books that were published about the Holocaust. Still, I kept my blinkers on. I firmly told myself that it was not my business, since I was just a child during that time. Sooner or later such an attitude will have to come to an end. It did for me after I fled a difficult marriage and finally began to examine my life. This was a slow process, aided by a patient psychiatrist. Now, years later, I want to write about my life and about the conflicted feelings such a search will cause in a woman of German nationality.

Born Under a Lucky Star: A Red Army Soldier's Recollections of the Eastern Front of World War II

Ivan Philippovich Makarov - 2020
    That was on his first day at the front.Thrown into an open field to face German tanks and artillery fire, with only rifles and machine guns to defend themselves with, almost 2,000 men of his regiment were wiped out in only six days at the Eastern Front. At this rate, Ivan struggled to comprehend how he would survive the hundreds of battles that lay before him, with death seeming to be the only certainty.In his raw and trenchant memoir, Ivan recounts the terror and despair faced by a Red Army soldier on the Eastern Front.He has no sympathy for Stalin and his incompetent commanders, who sought awards and recognition at the expense of their soldiers’ lives. He simply wanted to serve his country.It is rare to find first-hand accounts of the Great Patriotic War from Red Army soldiers, as many did not survive to tell the tale. For the first time, Ivan reveals his gripping recollections of battles, times, places, and people encountered throughout World War II, from when he was drafted in 1941 until their victory in 1945.These recollections he dared not put on paper until 1992.

Blood and Soil: The Memoir of A Third Reich Brandenburger

Sepp de Giampietro - 2019
    with genuine verve and style... [His] South Tyrolean origins, and his role in the Brandenburg Division make the book very distinctive._' Roger Moorhouse.The Brandenburgers were Hitler's Special Forces, a band of mainly foreign German nationals who used disguise and fluency in other languages to complete daring missions into enemy territory. Overshadowed by stories of their Allied equivalents, their history has largely been ignored, making this memoir all the more extraordinary.First published in German in 1984, de Giampietro's highly-personal and eloquent memoir is a vivid account of his experiences. In astonishing detail, he delves into the reality of life in the unit from everyday concerns and politics to training and involvement in Brandenburg missions. He details the often foolhardy missions undertaken under the command of Theodor von Hippel including the June 1941 seizure of the Duna bridges in Dunaburg and the attempted capture of the bridge at Bataisk where half of his unit were killed.Translated into English for the first time, this is a unique insight into a fascinating slice of German wartime history, both as an account of the Brandenburgers and within the very particular context of the author's South Tyrolean origins.Given the very perilous nature of their missions very few of these specially-trained soldiers survived the Second World War and much knowledge of the unit has been lost forever.Widely regarded as the predecessor of today's special forces units, this fascinating account brings to life the Brandenburger Division and its part in history in vivid and compelling detail.

All the Pretty Shoes

Marika Roth - 2011
    Running, starved and shoeless, through the streets of Budapest, ALL THE PRETTY SHOES is the story she survived to write.“Marika Roth’s narrative holds us captive throughout one hell of a ride: betrayal, sexual predators, love affairs, modeling career, kidnapping of her children... Not to be missed!” —Tova Laiter, Producer, The Scarlett Letter and Varsity Blues“A story about the indomitable spirit of a woman faced with unimaginable horrors and impossible odds. Roth tells her extraordinary tale with clarity and a remarkable lack of self-pity.” —Jillian Lauren, Author, SOME GIRLS: MY LIFE IN A HAREM“I remember Marika calling to say she’d discovered a memorial to the atrocity she’d witnessed … I googled it and suddenly the draft of her memoir in my hands felt very, very heavy. This is a powerful book about overcoming the ongoing, chronic victimization that is all too often the prolonged second act of the refugee ordeal.” —Robert Morgan Fisher, Award-Winning Writer“…plucks at an emotional inner chord and serves as a portrayal of hope for the human condition.” —Stefan Pollack, The Pollack PR Marketing Group“I have read books about how people suffered during WWII, like Imre Kertesz who won the Nobel Prize, but none moved me as much as ALL THE PRETTY SHOES. Roth’s style, the way she narrated how cruel life can be, without judging others, truly brought tears to my eyes.” —Vivian Nagy, Hungary“A story of self-discovery, wonderfully told, full of such drama that one can hardly believe that an innocent little girl could endure so much. I couldn’t put it down!” —Mary Stokes-Rees, China“The story of Anne Frank cannot even compare to what Marika went through. A book all teenagers and young adults should read.” —Shelia Durfey, Independent