Cowburn, Benjamin - No Cloak, No Dagger - ( Item 126518 )
Published in London by Folio Society. 2011. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Near Fine slipcase. Slight marks to panels of slipcase. Introduced by Giles Foden. Book Illustrated by Geoff Grandfield. Bound in cloth. Blocked with a design by Geoff Grandfield. Set in Plantin. Frontispiece and 7 colour illustrations. Book Size: 9½" × 6¼", 248 pages. Benjamin Cowburn, or Benoît as he was codenamed, parachuted into France in early 1941. Before the war he had lived in Paris as an engineer, and his fluent French and local knowledge made him an ideal recruit to SOE. In No Cloak, No Dagger he records in matter-of-fact tones activating contacts; setting up letter-drops, safe-houses and parachute landing sites; failures and successes, and the truly appalling casualty rate amongst the first agents. His account is at once professional, and deeply personal – the thrilling adventures of an agent who 'had always laughed at the “spy-thriller” type of story'. What bizarre events occur and what characters he meets: the major escaping France who has killed 96 Germans in two wars and is terrified he will die without killing another four to make his 'century'; the triple agent Victoire who betrays the German who first 'turned' her, and the railwaymen who don't turn a hair at carrying British agents over the border concealed in the train's engine. Cowburn is frank about the many near-disasters: the navy sent in 'pram dinghies' to take the agents off a beach, which were 'about as seaworthy as an inverted umbrella'; his resistance group left their plans drawn on a school blackboard, but luckily the headmaster's wife saw them and scrubbed them off. Aware of the terrible fates that his recruits and fellow agents suffered – many of his friends were tortured and then shot – Cowburn ascribes his own survival not to judgement, but to luck. Yet his indomitable, calm and cheerful spirit shines out in his prose, whether he is putting itching powder in Wehrmacht laundry or recording his own reactions – on hearing that he has been betrayed, Cowburn did not feel a tingling scalp or sickness in the pit of the stomach, but rather found himself 'stuffing another forkful of pommes de terre à l'huile into my mouth'. A magnificent portrait of what life was like for a secret agent in occupied France, this is, above all, a moving tribute to the 'Frenchmen and Frenchwomen who wished neither to collaborate nor to wait in misery, but who felt the urge ... to form the hidden, glowing world of faith and resistance'. In his introduction to 'this astonishing story of secrets, lies and big bangs' novelist Giles Foden praises the literary skill that has made this memoir a classic of the genre.
Price £ 15.30 (inc UK postage) Other items you may like Others by the same author
To buy this item online using any major credit or debit card or Paypal, click the appropriate delivery option below to add the item to your basket, depending on where you are in the world. Alternatively please contact us at RNewbury@ardis.co.uk for further information or to order with payment by direct bank transfer or cheque if you are in the UK.
Safe and Secure Online Buying
To buy online, please click the appropriate postage option in the item boxes above. You will be transferred to secure pages hosted by Paypal, the largest online transaction processor in the world. You can pay with any major credit or debit card or by Paypal. When ordering multiple items in the UK, you may be entitled to a postage discount. This will be refunded when your order is received. If you prefer to pay by cheque, or would like a quotation for buying multiple items, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the unique item numbers required.
Money Back Guarantee, Secure Packaging and Fast Response
We are a major online trader with excellent feedback from satisfied customers on Amazon and Ebay (over 25,000 customers). We will refund your costs for items returned within seven days for any reason. If we are at fault we will also refund your return postage. Items are sent in top grade book boxes for protection. Large items or multiple purchases may be boxed. Items will be despatched within a day of receipt of your order, usually on the same day if ordered before noon.