My Two Favorite World War II Books

DaveBook Reviews, World War IILeave a Comment

My retirement from show production is now complete! I produced trade/consumer shows for 51 years, including 34 Fiery Foods and Barbecue Shows. Mark Masker now takes over as producer of that show and publisher of,,,, and I had a great run with shows, but from now on, my focus will be on writing books.
I have a lot of World War II books in my library, but my two favorite ones feature brains rather than brawn. The first is Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, by Giles Milton, subtitled The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat. This top secret organization had a mandate from Prime Minister Winston Churchill to “coordinate all actions by way of subversion and sabotage against the enemy overseas.” USA Today commented in its review, “Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, with its ghastly details and dollops of droll British humor, will reward readers who appreciate military history and good writing.” I completely agree–this is a great read about how guerrilla warfare, including assassinations, completely screwed up the Germans in the countries they invaded.
The similar American efforts are recounted in The Dirty Tricks Department: Stanley Lovell, the OSS, and the Masterminds of world War II Secret Warfare, by John Lisle. In this book, a secret group of scientists developed dirty tricks for the OSS, the precursor to the CIA. Their inventions included bat bombs, suicide pills, fighting knives, silent pistols, and camouflaged explosives. Plus, they forged documents for undercover agents, plotted the assassination of foreign leaders, and performed truth drug experiments on unsuspecting subjects. Pulitzer Prize finalist H.W. Brands commented, “The Dirty Tricks Department is a fascinating tale vividly told, full of sabotage and skullduggery, deviousness and invention, and populated by a cast of remarkable characters. James Bond meets Sherlock Holmes―but in deadly serious real life.” With entire chapters devoted to psychological warfare, forgery, camouflage, biological warfare, undercover missions, and truth drugs, this book will delight WW II buffs. Both books are highly recommended.