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Wilhelm Canaris was appointed by Hitler to head the Abwehr (the German secret service) 18 months after the Nazis came to power. But Canaris turned against the Fuhrer and the Nazi regime, believing that Hitler would start a war Germany could not win. In 1938 he was involved in an attempted coup, undermined by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. In 1940 he sabotaged the German plan to invade England and fed General Franco vital information that helped him keep Spain out of the war.
For years he played a dangerous double game, desperately trying to keep one step ahead of the Gestapo. The SS chief, Heinrich Himmler, became suspicious of the Abwehr and by 1944, when Abwehr personnel were involved in the attempted assassination of Hitler, he had the evidence to arrest Canaris himself. Canaris was executed a few weeks before the end of the war.
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By C on 05-23-18
Canaris is fascinating, but this “history” lacks depth
Overall, this was an entertaining story, but it does not satisfy as a work of history.
Wilhelm Canaris, the protagonist, is a fascinating individual with an impressive array of achievements. Interestingly, as chief of the German foreign intelligence service before and during WW2, there is substantial evidence that he both supported and didn’t support Germany in the war.
Some resolution of this central contradiction is essential. Yet, unfortunately, there is no substantive analysis or investigation of this contradiction in Bassett’s book. Instead it is, so to speak, “just one %}#€ing thing after another” and ultimately unenlightening. For such a fascinating biographic topic this is a real disappointment.
There were also a number of issue with the recording, a surprise given Audible’s high standards. Many words were mispronounced, using neither British nor American English- e.g. macabre, sine qua non. Several sentences were repeated, as if the recording skipped. This problem has not occurred for me with any other Audible book so I suspect it is an issue with the recording not the Audible software.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Mr. R. Mun Gavin on 05-28-18
Amazing! The Inside Track on WWII Intelligence!
I’ve always thought that I knew a lot about WWII .
However, I learnt, after listening to this book that my knowledge was limited to the basic conflict/battles and the wider strategic issues - this book introduced me to the little-known “cloak-and -dagger” world of spies, intelligence and counter intelligence.
I was shattered to find out that the German and British intelligence arms kept in contact with one another throughout the war!
I learnt that the Germans were partnering with the Japanese on submarine development prior to WWII.
I learnt how fatal the Allies’ demand for an “unconditional surrender” has been - it destroyed any chance of a negotiated peace that Germans, like Canaris, were seeking.
I learnt about the extent of the German generals’ reluctance to go to war had been ... from the outset!!
I learnt that Admiral Canaris was a great and very brave man who risked his life daily at doing what he thought would save his Germany.
I’m not sure if there’s a statue of Canaris in Germany, but there should be ... and it should be a big one!!!
An excellent book, well-researched and loaded with interesting (and new) WWII facts!