Monday, 7 October 2019

Agent Jack The True Story of MI5's Secret Nazi Hunter

In Agent Jack, The True Story of MI5's Secret Nazi Hunter,  a book by Robert Hutton, we go back to the early 1940s. In Europe Britain was standing alone, facing the menace of the might of Nazi Germany.

In June 1940 Hitler's next target was Britain. And whilst the vast majority of Britons would do anything they could to resist the invasion of Britain by Nazi Germany, there were some who not only would welcome such an attack, they were actually dedicated to helping to make sure of a German victory over their own country, so virulent was their antisemitism.

They were apparently ordinary Britons living seemingly ordinary lives, working in shops, offices and factories (some were even involved in important war work) but unknown to their neighbours and some friends and relatives, they were, in reality, dedicated to promoting the cause of Nazism in Britain and to helping sabotage the British war effort.

However, what they did not realise was that every move they made, every contact they undertook with their German 'spymaster' was actually all taken under the careful control of Eric Roberts, one of the most experienced and dedicated MI5 agents of his generation.

Formerly a bank clerk from Epsom, Eric Roberts had spent the years before World War Two dedicated to rooting out Communist infiltrators and members of the British Union of Fascists.

But at the onset of the Second World War, he became known as Agent Jack King and was given the dangerous task by spymaster Maxwell Knight of seeking out potential traitors and convincing them that he, Jack King, was a Gestapo agent.

It was called Operation Fifth Column and none of the traitors were ever aware that, rather than working for the Gestapo, they were actually working for MI5.

Jack King, working virtually by himself, built up a network of hundreds of Nazi sympathisers and was able to neutralise the impact that their treasonous behaviour would have had, should they have been recruited by a genuine Gestapo agent.

How did he do this? Eric Roberts had an amazing ability to convince people to place their trust in him.

Robert Hutton's book is very well researched and very well written and it casts a strong light on a hitherto unknown part of World War Two.

Why was it kept secret for so many years after the war? Hutton reveals these reasons.

This book is a must have for students of war history and the general reader.

It's published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson and the published price is £9.99, although it may be available for less on Amazon (check out the Amazon link to the right of book reviews) and other stores, also available as an e-book and an audio book.

I can heartily recommend this book as a must read.

ISBN-10: 1474605117
ISBN-13: 978-1474605113.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Hitler's Secret Weapons of Mass Destruction

Hitler's Secret Weapons of Mass Destruction is a book by Michael Fitzgerald.

It examines a number of "secret" weapons (often based on new technologies) that Hitler insisted were "miracle weapons" that would halt the advancing allied armies in their tracks, reverse the fortunes of the German armed forces and bring the ultimate victory that he had long promised the German people.

However, what were these "miracle weapons"? Were they real or fantasies within the mentally diseased mind of Hitler?

In his book Fitzgerald examines the remaining records and archives of both Germany and the allied armed forces and he proves that some of the weapons were real attempts to use science to create weapons that would defeat the allied forces. A problem faced by researchers such as Fitzgerald is that many of the records were destroyed in allied bombing campaigns or were destroyed by the German armed forces or taken by Soviet army units.

He looks at the rocket programme of the Germans, flying discs, so-called foo fighters, alternative energy production and much more besides.

He also takes time to debunk some of the more hysterical claims so beloved of conspiracy theory fanatics.

For example he makes a detailed examination of The Bell. He writes about what The Bell wasn't (it wasn't anything to do with anti-gravity for example) it might, he speculates, have been designed to breed uranium or plutonium or could have been an early type of particle accelerator. 

He shows that one of the apparent mysteries surrounding The Bell project was merely a mistake in transcribing the name of a female scientist involved in the project.

It's an interesting and informative book and is published by Arcturus Publishing and costs £7.99.

The Philosophy of Humour

The Philosophy of Humour is a book by senior academic, published comic author and poet Paul McDonald, who is a Senior Lecturer at Wolverhampton University.

In this book McDonald takes the reader through the various and multiplicious theories of comedy and humour.

There is no one, single unifying theory of what makes people laugh and it is the aim of this book to do that, at least to some extent.

It critically examines the philosophical approaches to humour of great minds down through the ages such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Descartes Hobbes, Bergson, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Freud and Bakhtin.

However, the book also dips in to several other disciplines such as psychology and psychoanalysis, the theory of literature, religion, cultural studies, philosophy.

However, this is not a dry, theoretical work as it offers the student/reader the opportunity to partake in humorous creative writing exercises.

The book is published by Humanities-Ebooks and costs £11.75 and is also available as an e-book via Amazon at £3.72.   

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Tales of Mossycup Wood Frogbit and the Big Gloop

Tales of Mossycup Wood Frogbit and the Big Gloop is a wonderful children's book debut from Emma Jane Dunne.

At the heart of Mossycup Wood you will find Poggle Hollow few people know about its existence and those few people who do know about it, tend to try to keep it as a secret.

The Pogglewitts live there, they are small, very friendly and fun-loving people who have made nests for their homes in the oldest of the trees in the heart of the woods.

Their lives are full, but filled with wondrous things to do to help keep them happy. Waking up to the singing of the dawn chorus, watching the clouds as they float on by, collecting dust from butterflies,or singing to the minnows in the water.

It's a great book for children aged 4 to 7 and adults alike who will be utterly charmed by the stores and the colourful illustrations.

It's published by Matador at £9.99.


Hello is a debut book from Natalie Axander.

It helps children learn how to offer greetings in a wide variety of languages, in the guise of her hero Kevin as he daydreamingly travels around the world.

It's a well written and well illustrated book which will be great for children and adults to read together.

The illustrations were originated by Natalie Axander and drawn by ValEria Ko.

It's published by Matador at £6.99.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Aya and Papaya Discover What Makes Everyone Special

Aya and Papaya Discover What Makes Everyone Special is a new book in the splendid Aya and Papaya series of illustrated children's books, created by MQ.

It's a very special day for Aya and her best friend, Papaya, as they are going to take a ride on an 'plane to visit Aya's grandparents.

When they are at the airport waiting for their flight they see many different people who are from a lot of different places from all over the world.

Aya learns about them and comes to realise that everyone is special, but in their own, often totally unique, way.

Created by MQ, it's written and produced by Andy Abey, Anne Bleeker, plus the Qs.

The splendid and vivid illustrations are supplied by Leo Antolini.

It's due for publication by Matador on 28th August at £8.99.

Out of the Noise

Out of the Noise is a very interesting autobiography from Michael Fisher.

It tells the story of his early life, in the North Staffordshire town of Leek. The title of the book comes from an expression that locals use about their town, "Out of the Noise" it's a market town located between two hills and, as the expression goes, "Out of the Noise."

There are stories about the wonderful toys that his engineering father crafted by hand, the terrible December Disaster (the Christmas tree caught fire) and more interesting tales of growing up in a small market town in the north Midlands in a Moorlands town.

Read about seaside holidays of the type you probably went on yourself, street parties and the town's annual May Fair and a variety of special events, including the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

There's also some moving memories such as his uneasy relationship with his father as Michael grew inot an adolescent and a favourite auntie who provided him with loving support during these difficult times.

The book is also very well illustrated with a wide range of well reproduced photographs.

It's an evocative and very moving, poignant book and really must be on the reading lists of anyone with an interest in the social history of Britain.

It's published by The Book Guild at £9.99