Cover image for The deceivers : Allied military deception in the Second World War
The deceivers : Allied military deception in the Second World War
Holt, Thaddeus.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2004]

Physical Description:
xx, 1148 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Lisa Drew book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D744 .H64 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Hollywood often depicts wars being won by brawn, fire, and steel. But as this meticulous and riveting study of strategic deception in World War II reveals, wars can be determined by guile and clever disinformation. The Allied powers used and broke codes, had agents in sensitive enemy posts, and planned and executed ingenious ploys to one-up the Axis powers. Great generals were duped. Entire armies were misled. And because of it, the bloodiest war in human history was ended. Through declassified documents and interviews with war survivors, Thaddeus Holt presents-in astonishing detail-the secrets that helped the Allies win the Second World War. Book jacket.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This colossal and valuable study is clearly a labor of love for Holt, a lawyer and former deputy secretary of the army. It chronicles in thorough detail and smooth prose various operations that the Allies conducted to mislead the Axis as to the time, place, strength and direction of a host of military operations. The foremost of those was, of course, D-Day, and the origins, conduct and imposing logistics of Operation Fortitude are laid out in unsurpassed detail. So are a host of smaller operations, such as Operation Mincemeat, the subject of the book The Man Who Never Was. The men and women behind the planning and execution included the British career soldier Brig. Dudley W. Clarke; Gordon Merrick, later the author of The Lord Won't Mind and its successors, one of the first mainstream successes in gay fiction; and actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who was an amateur sailor and leader of a fine decoy effort in southern France. The achievements of the deceivers were invaluable if not always decisive. Few of them have been chronicled this completely or this well, at least for American readers, in a volume that reads with the fluency of a thriller for any reader with a minimal knowledge of and interest in the war. Agent, Phyllis Westburg. (June 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this massive chronology, Holt, former deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Army, details the complete story of the Allied deception plans undertaken during World War II. Drawing on freshly declassified Pentagon documents, he begins with the early British accomplishments in the Middle East and Africa under the aegis of Brig. Dudley Clarke and ends with Operation Pastel, the deception plan covering the invasion of Japan. The war's story appears in an entirely different light when overlaid with the various deception plans, most spectacularly the vital D-day feint that led Hitler to expect a landing at Calais. This story would only be half told without the work (well detailed here) of the agents and double agents who made strategic deception a success, from the well-known Peter Fleming, brother of James Bond creator Ian, to the little-known Juan Garcia, code-named Garbo, decorated by both the British and the Germans for his war work. Highly recommended.-David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
List of Abbreviationsp. xv
Prologue, 1862-1940p. 1
1 The Master of the Gamep. 9
2 The Art of Deceptionp. 52
3 The Customersp. 99
4 Most Secret Sources and Special Meansp. 125
5 London Controlp. 166
6 The Turning of the Tidep. 215
7 Enter the Yanksp. 246
8 Hustling the East (I)p. 289
9 The Soft Underbellyp. 328
10 Hustling the East (II)p. 395
11 American Deception Grows Upp. 431
12 Bodyguardp. 477
13 Quicksilverp. 521
14 Mediterranean Finalep. 592
15 Last Act in Europep. 629
16 Hustling the East (III)p. 668
17 Bluebirdp. 704
18 Last Round in Asiap. 746
Epiloguep. 779
Addendump. 806
I Allied Deception Operationsp. 807
II Special Means Channelsp. 845
III The Phantom Armiesp. 897
IV Mapsp. 935
Bibliographyp. 953
Referencesp. 975
Indexp. 1105