In This Review

Very Special Intelligence: The Story of the Admiralty's Intelligence Centre 1939-45
Very Special Intelligence: The Story of the Admiralty's Intelligence Centre 1939-45
By Patrick Beesly
Hamish Hamilton, 1977, 271 pp
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A superb first-hand account of the role of intelligence in the Battle of the Atlantic, this is by far the best book yet on the role of cipher-breaking (ULTRA) in relation to specific operations during World War II. The author is candid and illuminating about the defects in Britain's own cipher security in the early years, and makes judicious use both of official British war histories and much material from German sources. Above all, unlike too many other such works, the ego does not intrude.