ROGUE HEROES by Ben Macintyre

Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War by Ben Macintyre, No. 1 bestselling book of New York Times Best Sellers. The history of the SAS, Britain’s secret special forces unit that sabotaged the Nazis and changed the nature of war.

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Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War

by: Ben Macintyre
No. 1 Best Seller on November 6, 2016.
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The incredible untold story of WWII’s greatest secret fighting force, as told by our great modern master of wartime intrigue
 
Britain’s Special Air Service—or SAS—was the brainchild of David Stirling, a young, gadabout aristocrat whose aimlessness in early life belied a remarkable strategic mind. Where most of his colleagues looked at a battlefield map of World War II’s African theater and saw a protracted struggle with Rommel’s desert forces, Stirling saw an opportunity: given a small number of elite, well-trained men, he could parachute behind enemy lines and sabotage their airplanes and war material. Paired with his constitutional opposite, the disciplined martinet Jock Lewes, Stirling assembled a revolutionary fighting force that would upend not just the balance of the war, but the nature of combat itself. He faced no little resistance from those who found his tactics ungentlemanly or beyond the pale, but in the SAS’s remarkable exploits facing the Nazis in the Africa and then on the Continent can be found the seeds of nearly all special forces units that would follow.
 
Bringing his keen eye for psychological detail to a riveting wartime narrative, Ben Macintyre uses his unprecedented access to SAS archives to shine a light inside a legendary unit long shrouded in secrecy. The result is not just a tremendous war story, but a fascinating group portrait of men of whom history and country asked the most.

More books by Ben Macintyre

1. A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

by: Ben MacintyreJohn le Carré
Release date: May 12, 2015
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Master storyteller Ben Macintyre’s most ambitious work to date brings to life the twentieth century’s greatest spy story.

Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War—while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s best friend and fellow officer in MI6. The two men had gone to the same schools, belonged to the same exclusive clubs, grown close through the crucible of wartime intelligence work and long nights of drink and revelry. It was madness for one to think the other might be a communist spy, bent on subverting Western values and the power of the free world.
 
But Philby was secretly betraying his friend. Every word Elliott breathed to Philby was transmitted back to Moscow—and not just Elliott’s words, for in America, Philby had made another powerful friend: James Jesus Angleton, the crafty, paranoid head of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton’s and Elliott’s unwitting disclosures helped Philby sink almost every important Anglo-American spy operation for twenty years, leading countless operatives to their doom. Even as the web of suspicion closed around him, and Philby was driven to greater lies to protect his cover, his two friends never abandoned him—until it was too late. The stunning truth of his betrayal would have devastating consequences on the two men who thought they knew him best, and on the intelligence services he left crippled in his wake.
 
Told with heart-pounding suspense and keen psychological insight, and based on personal papers and never-before-seen British intelligence files, A Spy Among Friends is Ben Macintyre’s best book yet, a high-water mark in Cold War history telling.

From the Hardcover edition.

2. Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victor

by: Ben Macintyre
Release date: Apr 05, 2011
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF A SPY AMONG FRIENDS

In 1943, from a windowless basement office in London, two brilliant intelligence officers conceived a plan that was both simple and complicated— Operation Mincemeat. The purpose? To deceive the Nazis into thinking that Allied forces were planning to attack southern Europe by way of Greece or Sardinia, rather than Sicily, as the Nazis had assumed, and the Allies ultimately chose.
 
Charles Cholmondeley of MI5 and the British naval intelligence officer Ewen Montagu could not have been more different. Cholmondeley was a dreamer seeking adventure. Montagu was an aristocratic, detail-oriented barrister. But together they were the perfect team. They created an ingenious plan: Get a corpse, equip it with secret (but false and misleading) papers concerning the invasion, then drop it off the coast of Spain where German spies would, they hoped, take the bait. The idea was approved by British intelligence officials, including Ian Fleming (creator of James Bond). Winston Churchill believed it might ring true to the Axis and help bring victory to the Allies.

Filled with spies, double agents, rogues, fearless heroes, and one very important corpse, the story of Operation Mincemeat reads like an international thriller.

Unveiling never-before-released material, Ben Macintyre brings the reader right into the minds of intelligence officers, their moles and spies, and the German Abwehr agents who suffered the “twin frailties of wishfulness and yesmanship.” He weaves together the eccentric personalities of Cholmondeley and Montagu and their near-impossible feats into a riveting adventure that not only saved thousands of lives but paved the way for a pivotal battle in Sicily and, ultimately, Allied success in the war.

3. Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

by: Ben Macintyre
Release date: Aug 12, 2008
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF A SPY AMONG FRIENDS

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of 2007
One of the Top 10 Best Books of 2007 (Entertainment Weekly)
New York Times Best of the Year Round-Up
New York Times Editors’ Choice

Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began. Based on recently declassified files, Agent Zigzag tells Chapman’s full story for the first time. It’s a gripping tale of loyalty, love, treachery, espionage, and the thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal.

4. Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

by: Ben Macintyre
Release date: May 14, 2013
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF A SPY AMONG FRIENDS   

   On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. A stunning military accomplishment, it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, tricked the Nazis into believing that the Allied attacks would come in Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring Allied victory at the most pivotal point in the war. This epic event has never before been told from the perspective of the key individuals in the Double Cross system, until now. Together they made up one of the oddest and most brilliant military units ever assembled.

5. Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War

by: Ben MacintyreBen Macintyre
Release date: Oct 04, 2016
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The incredible untold story of WWII’s greatest secret fighting force, as told by our great modern master of wartime intrigue
 
Britain’s Special Air Service—or SAS—was the brainchild of David Stirling, a young, gadabout aristocrat whose aimlessness in early life belied a remarkable strategic mind. Where most of his colleagues looked at a battlefield map of World War II’s African theater and saw a protracted struggle with Rommel’s desert forces, Stirling saw an opportunity: given a small number of elite, well-trained men, he could parachute behind enemy lines and sabotage their airplanes and war material. Paired with his constitutional opposite, the disciplined martinet Jock Lewes, Stirling assembled a revolutionary fighting force that would upend not just the balance of the war, but the nature of combat itself. He faced no little resistance from those who found his tactics ungentlemanly or beyond the pale, but in the SAS’s remarkable exploits facing the Nazis in the Africa and then on the Continent can be found the seeds of nearly all special forces units that would follow.
 
Bringing his keen eye for psychological detail to a riveting wartime narrative, Ben Macintyre uses his unprecedented access to SAS archives to shine a light inside a legendary unit long shrouded in secrecy. The result is not just a tremendous war story, but a fascinating group portrait of men of whom history and country asked the most.

Recent New York Times Best Selling Books

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1. The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life

by: John le Carré
No. 1 Best Seller on October 2, 2016.
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“Recounted with the storytelling élan of a master raconteur — by turns dramatic and funny, charming, tart and melancholy.” -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

The first memoir from John le Carré, the legendary bestselling author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyThe Spy Who Came in from the Cold; and The Night Manager, now a television series starring Tom Hiddleston. 

From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive, reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he’s writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth; visiting Rwanda’s museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide; celebrating New Year’s Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command; interviewing a German woman terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev; listening to the wisdoms of the great physicist, dissident, and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov; meeting with two former heads of the KGB; watching Alec Guinness prepare for his role as George Smiley in the legendary BBC TV adaptations of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People; or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humor, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood.

Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer’s journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

2. Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring

by: Alexander Rose
No. 1 Best Seller on September 4, 2016.
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Turn: Washington’s SpiesNow a new original series on AMC
 
Basing his tale on remarkable original research, historian Alexander Rose reveals the unforgettable story of the spy ring that helped America win the Revolutionary War. For the first time, Rose takes us beyond the battlefront and into the shadowy underworld of double agents and triple crosses, covert operations and code breaking, and unmasks the courageous, flawed individuals who inhabited this wilderness of mirrors—including the spymaster at the heart of it all, George Washington.
 
Praise for Washington’s Spies
 
“Alexander Rose tells this important story with style and wit.”—Pulitzer Prize–winning author Joseph J. Ellis
 
“Fascinating . . . Spies proved to be the tipping point in the summer of 1778, helping Washington begin breaking the stalemate with the British. . . . [Alexander] Rose’s book brings to light their crucial help in winning American independence.”Chicago Tribune
 
“[Rose] captures the human dimension of spying, war and leadership . . . from the naive twenty-one-year-old Nathan Hale, who was captured and executed, to the quietly cunning Benjamin Tallmadge, who organized the ring in 1778, to the traitorous Benedict Arnold.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Rose gives us intrigue, crossed signals, derring-do, and a priceless slice of eighteenth-century life. Think of Alan Furst with muskets.”—Richard Brookhiser, author of Founding Father
 
“A compelling portrait of [a] rogues’ gallery of barkeeps, misfits, hypochondriacs, part-time smugglers, and full-time neurotics that will remind every reader of the cast of a John le Carré novel.”—Arthur Herman, National Review

3. The Secret War: Spies, Ciphers, and Guerrillas, 1939-1945

by: Max Hastings
No. 1 Best Seller on June 5, 2016.
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From one of the foremost historians of the period and the acclaimed author of Inferno and Catastrophe: 1914, The Secret War is a sweeping examination of one of the most important yet underexplored aspects of World War II—intelligence—showing how espionage successes and failures by the United States, Britain, Russia, Germany, and Japan influenced the course of the war and its final outcome.

Spies, codes, and guerrillas played unprecedentedly critical roles in the Second World War, exploited by every nation in the struggle to gain secret knowledge of its foes, and to sow havoc behind the fronts. In The Secret War, Max Hastings presents a worldwide cast of characters and some extraordinary sagas of intelligence and resistance, to create a new perspective on the greatest conflict in history.

4. Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror

by: Michael V. Hayden
No. 1 Best Seller on March 6, 2016.
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An unprecedented high-level master narrative of America’s intelligence wars, from the only person ever to helm both CIA and NSA, at a time of heinous new threats and wrenching change
 
For General Michael Hayden, playing to the edge means playing so close to the line that you get chalk dust on your cleats. Otherwise, by playing back, you may protect yourself, but you will be less successful in protecting America. “Play to the edge” was Hayden’s guiding principle when he ran the National Security Agency, and it remained so when he ran CIA.  In his view, many shortsighted and uninformed people are quick to criticize, and this book will give them much to chew on but little easy comfort; it is an unapologetic insider’s look told from the perspective of the people who faced awesome responsibilities head on, in the moment.
 
How did American intelligence respond to terrorism, a major war and the most sweeping technological revolution in the last 500 years?  What was NSA before 9/11 and how did it change in its aftermath?  Why did NSA begin the controversial terrorist surveillance program that included the acquisition of domestic phone records? What else was set in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?  
 
As Director of CIA in the last three years of the Bush administration,  Hayden had to deal with the rendition, detention and interrogation program as bequeathed to him by his predecessors. He also had to ramp up the agency to support its role in the targeted killing program that began to dramatically increase in July 2008. This was a time of great crisis at CIA, and some agency veterans have credited Hayden with actually saving the agency. He himself won’t go that far, but he freely acknowledges that CIA helped turn the American security establishment into the most effective killing machine in the history of armed conflict.
 
For 10 years, then, General Michael Hayden was a participant in some of the most telling events in the annals of American national security. General Hayden’s goals are in writing this book are simple and unwavering: No apologies. No excuses. Just what happened. And why. As he writes, “There is a story here that deserves to be told, without varnish and without spin. My view is my view, and others will certainly have different perspectives, but this view deserves to be told to create as complete a history as possible of these turbulent times. I bear no grudges, or at least not many, but I do want this to be a straightforward and readable history for that slice of the American population who depend on and appreciate intelligence, but who do not have the time to master its many obscure characteristics.”

5. 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation

by: Clint Emerson
No. 1 Best Seller on January 3, 2016.
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A hands-on, practical survival guide from retired Navy SEAL Clint Emerson—adapted for civilians from actual special forces operations—to eluding pursuers, evading capture, and surviving any dangerous situation.

In today’s increasingly dangerous world, threats to your personal safety are everywhere. From acts of terror to mass shootings, and from the unseen (and sometimes virtual) matrix of everyday crime, danger is no longer confined to dark alleys or unstable regions. Potentially life-threatening circumstances can arise anywhere, anytime, and Clint Emerson—former Navy SEAL—wants you to be prepared.

100 Deadly Skills contains proven self-defense skills, evasion tactics, and immobilizing maneuvers—modified from the world of black ops—to help you take action in numerous “worst case” scenarios from escaping a locked trunk, to making an improvised Taser, to tricking facial recognition software. With easy-to-understand instructions and illustrations, Emerson outlines in detail many life-saving strategies and teaches you how to think and act like a member of the special forces.

This complete course in survival teaches you how to prevent tracking, evade a kidnapping, elude an active shooter, rappel down the side of a building, immobilize a bad guy, protect yourself against cyber-criminals, and much more—all using low-tech to “no-tech” methods. Clear, detailed, and presented in an easy-to-understand and execute format, 100 Deadly Skills is an invaluable resource. Because let’s face it, when danger is imminent, you don’t have time for complicated instructions.

Last updated on Thursday, June 1, 2017

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