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Churchill's Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare

by Steven Bergman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Feb 10, 2017
Churchill's Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare

With the attention-grabbing title, "Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare," it's difficult to ascertain the intent of the author or publisher. Is it a fantastical piece of fiction? No, it's a successful marketing technique to bring the ambivalent reader into this fascinating, little-known facet of World War II, and the effect this predominantly under-the-radar group had on its outcome.

Giles Milton ("Nathaniel's Nutmeg") has crafted a highly accessible biography of this mostly-unknown department of the British government, and given us a well-researched, tome of this organization's formation, progress and evolution, and conclusion in England during World War II.

Milton begins the story in the style of the traditional spy-novel: people with no known connection find themselves tapped into employment at the hands of a mysterious individual, who shapes the group into a military office brought to the service of the British war machine, under the leadership of Winston Churchill. Through their efforts, they successfully help the Allies defeat the Nazis.

This entertaining tale of invaluable assistance by a group of mostly unheard of personnel to the Allies in World War II, is worthy of picking up this book.

The cast of characters are a quirky group of societal outcasts, beginning with Cecil Clarke, a designer of high-end caravans; Stuart Macrae, a manager with strategic organizational skills; to Millis Jefferis, a gifted mathematician who can translate his skill into the development of tremendously useful weaponry. All were under the eye of Colin Gubbins, the mastermind whose belief that the only way for the Nazis to be defeated was to put together a highly-trained team of saboteurs with innate talents in guerilla tactics.

This "perfect storm" of people established secret facilities in the Scottish Highlands, where new and (initially) misunderstood technologies were created and converted into operational weapons. These weapons would prove to make the difference in some important conflicts during the war, from the disabling of a heavy-water plant where the Nazis were progressing in their development of the Atomic bomb, to the protection of Allied forces from attack during the Battle of Normandy.

That Milton has accumulated this information this many years after the war is impressive enough, but to mold it into an entertaining tale of invaluable assistance by this group of mostly unknown personnel is worthy of picking up this book and reading.

"Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare"
$19.99 / $14.99 (Kindle)
Picador (www.picador.com)

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.


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