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Written at war's end as an internal British government counterintelligence report (Hesketh died in 1987), the manuscript of this book was later used as the initially uncredited source for Sefton Delmer's bestselling novel The Counterfeit Spy in the early '70s. Its first full publication in England last year was met with reviews stressing its cultural importance; its release here makes it a rare prize for Stateside historians and buffs. As WWII picked up steam in Europe, military planners on both sides of the conflict recognized that the Allies would inevitably launch an amphibious attack on the coast of France; the only question was when and where. The Normandy landing, called Operation Overlord, is one of the legendary success stories of modern warfare. Less known are the enormous lengths to which Allied planners went to keep the details of the massive operation secret, and to put the Axis off the scent. Now, more than 50 years after the fact, comes Hesketh's firsthand account of the disguise, code-named Fortitude, orchestrated by Hesketh himself. Peopled with secret operatives and stocked with inflatable tanks, phony agent reports and the infamous and brilliantly conceived feint of a U.S. Army group that never existed, Hesketh's account beautifully and systematically illustrates how his force convinced Hitler that the Allied invasion would take place not at Normandy but at the Pas de Calais. Hesketh, who was a lawyer before the war and an MP after, writes with careful grace, but acronyms do crowd many pages. Some generalists will be overwhelmed, but this is a feast for literate strategy buffs of any war or conflict. 7 b&w photos, 15 maps, 12 charts. Military Book Club alternate selection. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Hesketh writes a fascinating, although not exactly cover-to-cover enthralling, history of the allied efforts to deceive the Germans about the location and timing of the D-Day invasion. The project was code named Fortitude. The author actually wrote the account at the end of the war, but its publication was delayed until the principal participants died or came out of hiding. He discusses, in considerable detail, the varied programs of deception, from fake messages meant to be intercepted to dummy equipment (inflatable tanks) to German agents who were discovered and then "turned" to be used by the Allies. Although a full range of activities was necessary to ensure that the campaign succeeded, the key element was the use of double agents. The appendixes include more than 100 pages of documents concerning Fortitude. This is sure to be a popular work with students of military history and with those who served during the Second World War. Eric Robbins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.