The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
Churchill's Mavericks: Plotting Hitler's Defeat
By Giles Milton
The incredible story of the secret underground operations of the Second World War.
Six gentlemen, one goal - the destruction of Hitler's war machine
In the spring of 1939, a top secret organisation 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 to prove every bit as extraordinary as the six gentlemen who directed it. Winston Churchill selected them because they were wildly creative and thoroughly ungentlemanly. 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 favourite, Reinhard Heydrich. Another member of the team, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world's leading expert in silent killing. He was 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 planned the most audacious sabotage attacks of the Second World War. Winston Churchill called it his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. The six 'ministers', aided by a group of formidable ladies, were so effective that they single-handedly changed the course of the war.
Told with Giles Milton's trademark verve and eye for detail, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is thoroughly researched and based on hitherto unknown archival material. It is a gripping and vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do and is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.
Giles Milton is a writer and historian. He is the internationally bestselling author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth, The Riddle and the Knight, White Gold, Samurai William, Paradise Lost, Wolfram and Russian Roulette. He has also written three novels and three children's books. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in south London.
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- Publication date:
30 Jun 2016
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[A] wonderful book . . . A fascinating and lively account . . . Milton writes with a pace and panache suitable to the subject — The Times
What sets Milton's work apart from other recounting is his behind-the-scenes access to the stories of the small group of men who put their minds to creating new ways to wage war — The Spectator
Milton is a meticulous researcher and masterful storyteller . . . a fascinating account of England's top-secret operatives who designed and deployed the chilling but effective weapons of clandestine warfare — USA Today
Milton is a first-rate storyteller . . . a rousing account - and celebration - of most insidious heroes — Wall Street Journal
[Giles Milton] writes with relish about the eccentrics who dreamed up the likes of anti-tank 'sticky bombs' while the adventures he describes could not be faster-moving or more exciting — Literary Review
This account of dirty bombs and derring-do rattles along with the pace of a spy novel — Daily Express
A magnificent story, brilliantly told. Read it! — Anthony Horowitz
Terrific . . . a great read — Ian Hislop