Hitler’s Spies written by Mel Kavanagh and published by Pen & Sword Books – £25.00 – Hardback – Pages 304
September 1940: Britain stands alone against the might of the advancing German Army and the spectre of invasion looms. Using a wealth of primary material including sources previously designated secret, this is the first book, written in English, dedicated to the story of the first four German spies who successfully arrived in the south of England. Using the code name Operation Lena, it was the initial undertaking to necessitate Hitler’s invasion of England, itself code named Operation Sealion. These men were to be the pathfinders, the scouts, the eyes and ears that would help the first invasion of England for several hundred years. This extraordinary story stands as evidence of the only part of the invasion actually to arrive, of the abysmal quality of their selection and training, of the extraordinary fair-mindedness of a British jury, especially when Britain was gripped by spy paranoia. This is possibly one of the most audacious and least known episodes of the Second World War.
I love it when I get to review a ‘spy’ type book for Pen & Sword Books because it’s often a book full of stuff that hasn’t been revealed very often before. It’s often information not long revealed or items that have been hidden purposely for a number of years. This book is great because it follows 4 different stories of German spies and plans such as Operation Sealion, and what is good about this book is that the author has heavily relied on primary source materials such as documents, diaries, plans and letters. Credit should go to the author who has re-written this evidence well to write an extremely engaging book that keeps you interested and wanting more from it. Also we shouldn’t forget that this was at a time when Britain was having to fight Germany on its own. The photographs are good and add quite a bit to the book which is usually the case as these are very often never before seen photos. A really good book I would certainly recommend to others with a 4.5 star rating.