A masterpiece of scholarship and synthesis that also reads like a thriller ... Yet the book also flashes and sparkles with the kind of observed detail that we are accustomed to finding only in spy fiction. The highest praise that can be bestowed on his book is that it will remind readers of a cloak-and-dagger tale by John Le Carré with an armature of fascinating historical annotation.
A veteran historian and journalist pulls together many historical threads in this portrait of the 'battle for the Middle East…one of the critical fronts of World War II.' ... Gorenberg delivers historically accurate and fascinating descriptions of Bletchley Park as a collection of smart, workaholic men and women that included a sprinkling of geniuses ... Gorenberg’s gimlet eye reveals a remarkably unheroic Rommel, unimaginative British generalship, know-it-all American leadership, and a delightful cast of colonial officials, family, unhappy Egyptian royalty, Arab nationalists, adventurers, and even two bumbling Nazi spies out of central casting. The author also includes a helpful cast of characters, divided by country, and a list of relevant intelligence and security agencies. Sure to be among the year’s best histories of World War II.
Journalist Gorenberg explores the battle for North Africa and the Middle East during WWII in this richly detailed yet somewhat impenetrable history ... Weaving Middle Eastern politics with the history of cryptography, profiles of Allied and Axis codebreakers, and technical descriptions of battlefield campaigns, Gorenberg at times bites off more than he can chew ... Gorenberg gathers a wealth of intriguing material, but occasionally loses the thread of the narrative amid the jumble of military acronyms and the large cast of characters. This deeply researched account is best-suited to WWII completists.