Book Review: Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Giles Milton. (Five Stars)


Book Review: Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat by Giles Milton.

(Five Stars)

“The whole art of guerilla warfare lies in striking the enemy where he least expects it and yet where he is most vulnerable.” Colin Gubbins

The best World War Two history I’ve read in years. One blurb claims, “The last untold story of World War Two.” And a critical story it is. An unlikely collection of English men and women, working outside normal channels but with cover by the Prime Minister, develop and field weapons which solve many problems critical to England’s survival and eventual victory.

“A job is a good one if it looks like an accident, an act of God, or has no explanation.” Cecil Clark

One point can’t be overemphasized: as messy and repulsive as unconventional warfare is, it is more efficient, more effective, and–in the end–more humane than mass bombing raids or bayonet charges across open fields, not to mention nuclear weapons.

“When the time for action comes, act with the greatest boldness and audacity.” Colin Gubbins

Well-researched and presented. Many photographs. Better than fiction.

“Whatever your opponent’s weight and strength, you can overcome it if you attack. To stay on defense is fatal.” William Fairburn

One sabotage team leader was Peter Fleming, brother of Ian Fleming, who mined his James Bond ideas from the real thing.

“The fighting I’m going to show you is not a sport. It’s every time and always, a fight to the death.” Eric Sykes

Quibble: “They threw hand grenades with precision at one hundred yards.” Not likely.

“The intelligence professionals resisted bitterly the whole idea of letting a lot of thugs loose on the Continent.” Kim Philby (future traitor)

After the war, the principals got medals and fired. The organization and facilities abandoned. Nothing remained, except the American splinter operation which evolved into the Central Intelligence Agency.

“The part which your naughty deeds in war play in peace cannot at all be considered.” Winston Churchill

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare by Giles Milton. (Five Stars)

  1. We were lucky to have Churchill, even though many of his contemporaries did NOT appreciate him. The world might have been very different without the ‘dirty tricks’ that spared civilains. Have put it on my list. It sometimes surprises people to find out how good a writer he was, too. (And painter.) I still remember his dispatches.

  2. Few remember that Churchill was hated and feared as a warmonger and loose cannon, by his own party. See also my review of the movie: Darkest Hour.

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