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The Deceivers

The Deceivers

Allied Military Deception in the Second World War

In World War II, the Allies employed unprecedented methods and practiced the most successful military deception ever seen, meticulously feeding misinformation to Axis intelligence to lead Axis commanders into erroneous action. Thaddeus Holt's elegantly written and comprehensive book is the first to tell the full story behind these operations. Exactly how the Allies engaged in strategic deception has remained secret for decades. Now, with the help of newly declassified material, Holt reveals this secret to the world in a riveting work of historical scholarship.

Once the Americans joined the war in 1941, they had much to learn from their British counterparts, who had been honing their deception skills for years. As the war progressed, the British took charge of misinformation efforts in the European theater, while the Americans focused on the Pacific. The Deceivers takes readers from the early British achievements in the Middle East and Europe at the beginning of the war to the massive Allied success of D-Day, American victory in the Pacific theater, and the war's culmination on the brink of an invasion of Japan.

Colonel John Bevan, who managed British deception operations from London, described the three essentials to strategic deception as good plans, double agents, and codebreaking, and The Deceivers covers each of these aspects in minute detail. Holt brings to life the little-known men, British and American, who ran Allied deception, such as Bevan, Dudley Clarke, Peter Fleming, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Newman Smith. He tracks the development of deception techniques and tells the hitherto unknown story of double agent management and other deception through the American FBI and Joint Security Control.

Full of fascinating sources and astounding revelations, The Deceivers is an indispensable volume and an unparalleled contribution to World War II literature.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 1168 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439103883 | 
  • May 2010
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About the Author

Thaddeus Holt

Thaddeus Holt is a lawyer, focusing primarily on litigation and administrative law. He served as Deputy Under Secretary of the Army from 1965 to 1967. His articles and book reviews have appeared in MHQ, The New York Times, The Journal of Military History, Virginia Quarterly Review, and various anthologies. He lives in Alabama.

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