Monday, April 17, 2017

Double Cross: Deception Techniques in War by Paul B. Janeczko, 2017

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How does deception factor into fighting wars, and is it effective? In an intriguing companion to The Dark Game, Paul B. Janeczko reveals the truth about the strategic lies of war. The biblical account of Gideon. The ancient story of the Trojan horse. Deceptive techniques have been used in war through the ages. But while the principles have changed very little, the technology behind fooling the enemy has evolved dramatically. Paul B. Janeczko s fascinating chronology focuses on the American Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf Wars to reveal evolving attitudes toward the use and effectiveness of deceptive operations. Find out the secret plan behind the invasion of Normandy and the details of General Schwarzkopf s "Hail Mary play" during the Gulf War, among many other strategies and maneuvers designed to pull the wool over enemies' eyes. Back matter includes source notes, a bibliography, and an index."
(256 pages)

It's funny how things work out sometimes. I agreed to review Double Cross months ago, but didn't get around to it until now–which just so happens to be the exact same time that we're covering WWII and the Cold War era in my APUSH class. Deception techniques from WWII, the Korean war, and the Vietnam war make up the bulk of the content, so it works out perfectly for me: I get to study and work on my blog at the same time!

Because Double Cross is definitely educational. It talks a lot about military maneuvers on the Allied side during WWII, and on the American/UN side in the more recent wars. It also touches on the Trojan Horse story, but I already knew about that. What I really enjoyed reading about was the new stuff. Did you know that Britain invented a whole new army that was going to invade Europe at Pas-de-Calais (rather than Normandy), and that they had a group of people driving around Scotland to send out telegraph messages simulating conversations between the different parts of the army? Not only that, but they also built props on the ground to look like trucks. And they put little articles in the newspaper about how, say, the presence of thousands of soldiers was demoralizing the young Scottish women. The attention to detail that went into the operation was incredible–and it worked beautifully. Hitler actually kept a large amount of his troops near Pas-de-Calais even after the invasion of Normandy because he thought a second attack would still be coming from there!

There are way more stories in here than just the one about Scotland's notional (fake) army, though. I don't want to go into all of them too much, because Janeczko does a better job explaining all of them than I ever could, but suffice it to say that there have been some very fascinating deception operations over the years. I don't love reading about war as a rule, just because it's too horrible to think of all that death, but I really enjoyed learning about all the stranger-than-fiction ideas people had that actually worked and fooled the enemy. It's also cool to see how, in some instances, these deception tactics saved many thousands of lives. I'm all for cutting down on the casualties!

Anyway, this is a very interesting book that I actually enjoyed more than I thought I would. If you're interested at all in trickery, or war-time strategy, or a combination of both, then I definitely recommend you give Double Cross a try. It's also a great bouncing-off book for a variety of other war-time topics, because it has inserts with information about cool spy stuff and technology scattered throughout its pages as well.



Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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