Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs
The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS
In a world made unrecognizable by the restrictions placed on the CIA today, OSS played fast and loose. Legendary chief "Wild Bill" Donovan created a formidable organization in short order, recruiting not only the best and brightest, but also the most fearless. His agents, both men and women, relied on guile, sex appeal, brains, and sheer guts to operate behind the lines, often in disguise, always in secret.
Patrick O'Donnell, called "the next Studs Terkel" by bestselling author Hampton Sides, has made it his life's mission to capture untold stories of World War II before the last of its veterans passes away. He has succeeded in extracting stories from the toughest of men, the most elite of soldiers, and, now, the most secretive of all: the men and women of OSS. From former CIA director William Colby, who parachuted into Norway to sever rail lines, to Virginia Hall, who disguised herself as a milkmaid, joined the French Resistance, and became one of Germany's most wanted figures, the stories of OSS are worthy of great fiction. Yet the stories in this book are all true, carefully verified by O'Donnell's painstaking research.
The agents of OSS did not earn public acclaim. There were no highly publicized medal ceremonies. But the full story of OSS reveals crucial work in espionage and sabotage, work that paved the way for the Allied invasions and disrupted the Axis defenses. Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs proves that the hidden war was among the most dramatic and important elements of World War II.
Read an Excerpt
A few days after Pearl Harbor, General Donovan summoned two men to his office: Dr. J. R. Hayden, former vice-governor of the Philippines, and Kenneth Baker of the Psychology Division of COI's Research and Analysis department. Neither had any idea what the meeting was about. After the men were seated, Wild Bill quickly came to the point: "I want you to start the schools."
"The SI training schools."
"But we don't know anything about espionage schools -- "
Baker and Hayden had their hands full. The newly designated Coordinator of Information (COI), later... see more