Taylor Downing - Spies In The Sky - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9780748128099
    • Publication date:15 Sep 2011

Spies In The Sky

The Secret Battle for Aerial Intelligence during World War II

By Taylor Downing

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

Available now in paperback, this is the thrilling story of the brains behind those who helped Britain win WW2. A sister story to Bletchley Park and Enigma.

SPIES IN THE SKY is the thrilling, little-known story of the partner organisation to the famous code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park. It is the story of the daring reconnaissance pilots who took aerial photographs over Occupied Europe during the most dangerous days of the Second World War, and of the photo interpreters who invented a completely new science to analyse those pictures. They were inventive and ingenious; they pioneered the development of 3D photography and their work provided vital intelligence throughout the war.

With a whole host of colourful characters at its heart, from the legendary pilot Adrian 'Warby' Warburton, who went missing while on a mission, to photo interpreters Glyn Daniel, later a famous television personality, and Winston Churchill's daughter, Sarah, SPIES IN THE SKY is compelling reading and the first full account of the story of aerial photography and the intelligence gleaned from it in nearly fifty years.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349123400
  • Publication date: 02 Aug 2012
  • Page count: 416
  • Imprint: Abacus
Spies in the Sky fills in a huge gap in Second World War historiography in both an exciting and intellectually stimulating way. No-one will be able to write a history of the conflict again without giving Medmenham its central role in Allied Intelligence-gathering. — Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War
A fascinating read and a significant contribution to the history of World War Two. The code-breakers of Bletchley have become internationally renowned. Now Taylor Downing tells the unsung story of the photo-analysts of Medmenham and the heroic pilots in the skyplanes, putting them back where they belong - at the heart of Britain's secret war. — Professor David Reynolds, author of In Command of History
Taylor Downing's brilliant research has created a ripping yarn. — Kevin Wilson, Sunday Express
Spies in the Sky combines the breathless courage of pilots . . . with the mild eccentricity of RAF Medmenham. There's a diverting cast of characters, from Winston Churchill's daughter Sarah to the young matinee idol-to-be Dirk Bogarde, and there's a beguiling account of the way in which the maverick pilot Sidney Cotton . . . fought the brass-hats in Whitehall. — Sinclair McKay, Daily Telegraph
Spies in the Sky gives a new perspective to some of the most famous moments of the conflict. — Robert McCrum, Observer
Hachette Audio

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1983 was a supremely dangerous year - even more dangerous than 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the US, President Reagan massively increased defence spending, described the Soviet Union as an 'evil empire' and announced his 'Star Wars' programme, calling for a shield in space to defend the US from incoming missiles.Yuri Andropov, the paranoid Soviet leader, saw all this as signs of American aggression and convinced himself that the US really meant to attack the Soviet Union. He put the KGB on alert to look for signs of an imminent nuclear attack. When a Soviet fighter jet shot down Korean Air Lines flight KAL 007 after straying off course over a sensitive Soviet military area, President Reagan described it as a 'terrorist act' and 'a crime against humanity'. The temperature was rising fast.Then at the height of the tension, NATO began a war game called Able Archer 83. In this exercise, NATO requested permission to use the codes to launch nuclear weapons. The nervous Soviets convinced themselves this was no exercise but the real thing.This is an extraordinary and largely unknown Cold War story of spies and double agents, of missiles being readied, of intelligence failures, misunderstandings and the panic of world leaders. With access to hundreds of extraordinary new documents just released in the US, Taylor Downing is able to tell for the first time the gripping but true story of how near the world came to the brink of nuclear war in 1983. 1983: The World at the Brink is a real-life thriller.

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