Gordon Corrigan's Mud, Blood and Poppycock overturned the myths that surround the First World War. Now he challenges our assumptions about the Second World War in this brilliant, caustic narrative that exposes just how close Britain came to losing. He reveals how Winston Churchill bears a heavy responsibility for the state of our forces in 1939, and how his interference in military operations caused a string of disasters. The reputations of some of our most famous generals are also overturned: above all, Montgomery, whose post-war stature owes more to his skill with a pen than talent for command. But this is not just a story of personalities.
Gordon Corrigan investigates how the British, who had the biggest and best army in the world in 1918, managed to forget everything they had learned in just twenty years. The British invented the tank, but in 1940 it was the Germans who showed the world how to use them. After we avoided defeat, but the slimmest of margins, it was a very long haul to defeat Hitler's army, and one in which the Russians would ultimately bear the heaviest burden.
In the spring of 1939, a top-secret organization was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler's war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage.
The guerrilla campaign that followed was every bit as extraordinary as the six men who directed it. One of them, Cecil Clarke, was a maverick engineer who had spent the 1930s inventing futuristic caravans. Now, his talents were put to more devious use: he built the dirty bomb used to assassinate Hitler's favorite, Reinhard Heydrich. Another, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world's leading expert in silent killing, hired to train the guerrillas being parachuted behind enemy lines. Led by dapper Scotsman Colin Gubbins, these men—along with three others—formed a secret inner circle that, aided by a group of formidable ladies, single-handedly changed the course Second World War: a cohort hand-picked by Winston Churchill, whom he called his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
Giles Milton's Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is a gripping and vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do that is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.