Behind the Lines
The Oral History of Special Operations in World War II
By Russell Miller
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312266424, 256pp.)
Publication Date: November 2002
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This is the story of special operations in the second world war as it has never been told before-directly by those who took part.
Compiled from interviews, diaries, letters and contemporaneous first-person accounts-many unpublished until now-this oral history follows the adventures of the courageous men and women who volunteered for service with the Untied States' Office of Strategic Services and Britain's Special Operations Executive. They parachuted behind enemy lines, often alone, with orders to cause mayhem. Arrest almost always resulted in torture and imprisonment; sometimes in execution
Trained in the black arts of warfare-sabotage, subversion, espionage, guerrilla tactics and undermining enemy morale by the distribution of insidious propaganda-theirs was a war fought in the shadows. Their activities extended to every theatre of operations: in occupied France, equipped with false identities, they played a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Gestapo; in the Balkans they discovered that the fiery politics of the region were as dangerous as the enemy; in the Burmese jungle, in some of the worst combat conditions of the war, they led native marauders in surprise attacks against the Japanese. From Britain they were supported by a team of back-room inventors who produced expertly forged documents and dreamed up ingenious devices like exploding rats and invisible ink.
The special agents of World War Two really were a breed apart. This is their extraordinary story. In their own words.
Russell Miller was born in east London and began his career in journalism at the age of 16. While under contract to the Sunday Times magazine, he won four press awards and was voted Writer of the Year by the Society of British magazine Editors. He is the author of eleven previous books, most recently an acclaimed history of the legendary Magnum photo agency.