84 books like Behind the Enigma

By John Ferris,

Here are 84 books that Behind the Enigma fans have personally recommended if you like Behind the Enigma. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949

Helen Fry Author Of Mi9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War Two

From my list on intelligence and espionage.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historian Dr. Helen Fry has written numerous books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans who fought for Britain, and also British intelligence, espionage and WWII. She is the author of the bestselling book The Walls have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of WWII which was one of the Daily Mail’s top 8 Books of the Year for War. She has written over 25 books – including The London Cage about London’s secret WWII Interrogation Centre. Her latest book is MI9: The British Secret Service for Escape & Evasion in WWII – the first history of MI9 for 40 years. Helen has appeared in numerous TV documentaries, including David Jason’s Secret Service, Spying on Hitler’s Army, and Home Front Heroes on BBC1. Helen is an ambassador for the Museum of Military Intelligence, and President of the Friends of the National Archives. 


Helen's book list on intelligence and espionage

Helen Fry Why did Helen love this book?

The Secret Intelligence Service, SIS and also known now as MI6, is one of Britain’s most secret organisations, and as such has provoked intrigue, mystique, and fascination; all partly fuelled by Ian Fleming’s successful James Bond novels. But whilst there is some crossover at points with the fictional world, the official history makes it plain that much of its work was mundane. That does not lessen our interest in the organisation. This book provides the first authorised recognition that SIS existed, but also the first glimpse into its clandestine activities. Told chronologically rather than thematically, there is a sense of the developing history of the organisation, from the threats in 1909, through to the deceptions and counter-espionage ops of the First and Second World Wars to 1949 (the start of the early Cold War). The book is the first insight into some of the central characters – those who can…

By Keith Jeffery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked MI6 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking book, this unprecedented study is the
authoritative account of the best-known intelligence organisation in the
world. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of
espionage, the two world wars, modern British government and the conduct
of international relations in the first half of the twentieth century, MI6:
The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 is a
uniquely important examination of the role and significance of
intelligence in the modern world.


Book cover of The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5

Helen Fry Author Of Mi9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War Two

From my list on intelligence and espionage.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historian Dr. Helen Fry has written numerous books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans who fought for Britain, and also British intelligence, espionage and WWII. She is the author of the bestselling book The Walls have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of WWII which was one of the Daily Mail’s top 8 Books of the Year for War. She has written over 25 books – including The London Cage about London’s secret WWII Interrogation Centre. Her latest book is MI9: The British Secret Service for Escape & Evasion in WWII – the first history of MI9 for 40 years. Helen has appeared in numerous TV documentaries, including David Jason’s Secret Service, Spying on Hitler’s Army, and Home Front Heroes on BBC1. Helen is an ambassador for the Museum of Military Intelligence, and President of the Friends of the National Archives. 


Helen's book list on intelligence and espionage

Helen Fry Why did Helen love this book?

The official history of MI5 similarly provides the first authorised account of another secret organisation. The book provides a far-reaching account of clandestine activities since its nascent beginnings as part of the Secret Service Bureau in 1909, and across a period of 100 years. It offers a rare insight into some of the eyebrow-raising operations in counter-espionage, as well as an administrative overview, for an intelligence agency that is responsible for Britain’s security at home. It gives the first inside account from it archives, from Bolshevik threats and Communist subversive activities in the 1920s in Britain to Hitler’s spies in the 1930s, to the Double-Cross deception and agents of World War Two. It goes beyond the Second World War to name some of the traitors and spies of the Cold War. There is a clear understanding publicly for the first time of the sheer scale of surveillance of enemies or…

By Christopher Andrew,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Defence of the Realm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For over 100 years, the agents of MI5 have defended Britain against enemy subversion. Their work has remained shrouded in secrecy—until now. This first-ever authorized account reveals the British Security Service as never before: its inner workings, its clandestine operations, its failures and its triumphs.


Book cover of Mission France: The True History of the Women of SOE

Mara Timon Author Of City of Spies

From my list on real-life, kick-ass female agents of WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mother instilled a love of books in me, and my father fostered my fascination with history – which meant that a good part of my formative years involved books, writing, and watching WW2 films. Years later, when a BBC documentary captured my imagination, I delved into the world of SOE’s female spies, binge-reading biographies and autobiographies. I was struck by their determination, dedication, resourcefulness – and in awe of their exploits. These women were heroes. When an idea for a story took hold, I followed one "what if..." after another until my first novel emerged. While City of Spies is fiction, I tried to stay as faithful as possible to history.

Mara's book list on real-life, kick-ass female agents of WW2

Mara Timon Why did Mara love this book?

Special Operations Executive had the directive to “Set Europe ablaze” and from 1942 began recruiting women as field operatives. 39 were sent into France (of which 26 returned), and Kate Vigurs tells their stories in Mission France. Superbly researched and well written, this book is a really good all-rounder. Broken into 3 sections (Foundations, War, and Death & Deliverance), it tells each woman’s story, from their recruitment to either their death or demob. I loved the fact that she covered the lesser-known agents as well as the big names. Be prepared to be moved – these women’s exploits are more amazing than a lot of fiction I’ve read!

By Kate Vigurs,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mission France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Formed in 1940, Special Operations Executive was to coordinate Resistance work overseas. The organization's F section sent more than four hundred agents into France, thirty-nine of whom were women. But while some are widely known-Violette Szabo, Odette Sansom, Noor Inayat Khan-others have had their stories largely overlooked.

Kate Vigurs interweaves for the first time the stories of all thirty-nine female agents. Tracing their journeys from early recruitment to work undertaken in the field, to evasion from, or capture by, the Gestapo, Vigurs shows just how greatly missions varied. Some agents were more adept at parachuting. Some agents' missions lasted for…


Book cover of Saturday at M.I.9

Helen Fry Author Of Mi9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War Two

From my list on intelligence and espionage.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historian Dr. Helen Fry has written numerous books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans who fought for Britain, and also British intelligence, espionage and WWII. She is the author of the bestselling book The Walls have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of WWII which was one of the Daily Mail’s top 8 Books of the Year for War. She has written over 25 books – including The London Cage about London’s secret WWII Interrogation Centre. Her latest book is MI9: The British Secret Service for Escape & Evasion in WWII – the first history of MI9 for 40 years. Helen has appeared in numerous TV documentaries, including David Jason’s Secret Service, Spying on Hitler’s Army, and Home Front Heroes on BBC1. Helen is an ambassador for the Museum of Military Intelligence, and President of the Friends of the National Archives. 


Helen's book list on intelligence and espionage

Helen Fry Why did Helen love this book?

Saturday was the codename given to Airey Neave when he worked for MI9, the branch of military intelligence for escape and evasion in World War Two. Neave has achieved legendary status as the first British man to successfully escape from Colditz Castle, Leipzig in Germany in 1942, and make it back to England. This fortress – nicknamed ‘the camp for naughty boys’ by British officer POWs – was believed by the Germans to be impenetrable and from which no prisoner could ever escape. Neave’s success vastly raised the morale of airmen and soldiers going into action because they knew it was possible to escape from such camps. Neave was perfectly placed to write this first history of MI9, placing on record the establishment and running of the major escape lines as well the bravery of thousands of women and men of Nazi-occupied countries who aided MI9 and saved over 35,000…

Book cover of The Bletchley Park Codebreakers

Mark Baldwin

From my list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Mark Baldwin – aka Dr. Enigma – is a world expert and speaker on the Enigma machine and has delivered over 700 presentations and demonstrations (using his own, genuine wartime Enigma machine) to some 70,000 people around the world. He has spoken to a wide range of audiences, from cybersecurity experts and software developers at leading Silicon Valley tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal, to academic audiences at universities, executives at business conferences, and the general public in a couple of hundred one-man theatre shows.

Mark's book list on the Enigma Machine and Bletchley Park

Mark Baldwin Why did Mark love this book?

This anthology is a valuable complement to my first book, with a couple of dozen contributors: a mixture of some who worked at Bletchley Park during the war, and some who are professional historians. The passage of time has encouraged archival research, and allowed historical analysis, producing an authoritative account of Bletchley’s achievements, particularly the breaking of millions of Enigma-enciphered messages.

By Ralph Erskine, Michael Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bletchley Park Codebreakers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The British codebreakers at Bletchley Park are now believed to have shortened the duration of the Second World War by up to two years. During the dark days of 1941, as Britain stood almost alone against the the Nazis, this remarkable achievement seemed impossible. This extraordinary book, originally published as Action This Day, includes descriptions by some of Britain's foremost historians of the work of Bletchley Park, from the breaking ofEnigma and other wartime codes to the invention of modern computing, and its influence on Cold War codebreaking. Crucially, it features personal reminiscences and very human stories of wartime codebreaking…


Book cover of A Vengeance of Spies

Hilary Green Author Of Operation Lightning Bolt

From my list on the secret world of plot and counter plot in WWll.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born just before the start of World War ll. My father served throughout the war in the RAF but before that he had been a professional singer. I was interested in the idea that the war had sent people along paths that they would never have otherwise explored and I decided to write about four young performing artists and their wartime experiences. The result was the four novels in my Follies series. It meant a lot of research, in the process of which I discovered the work of the Special Operations Executive. This has provided me with material for several more novels, of which Operation Lightning Bolt is the most recent.

Hilary's book list on the secret world of plot and counter plot in WWll

Hilary Green Why did Hilary love this book?

This book plays into my own interest in the work of the Special Operations Executive during World War ll. But it is set some years after the war and deals with the legacy of secrecy and its effect on the men and women who served in  SOE. It is a story of revenge and reconciliation, and the plot has many dramatic twists building up to a nail-biting climax and a bitter revelation.

By Manda Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Vengeance of Spies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My dear Elsa—
You are grieving and I am sorry, but there are things you need to know…
Because this is not only a confession. It is an accusation.
So, in case you get no further, here is the bald fact.

I killed your grandfather.

War hides many secrets and some of them are better kept. But the secret of Hut Ten was never that kind: it could have been leaked and a life would have been saved.
One man could have made that difference. He didn’t - and vengeance has taken forty years to catch up with him.

This…


Book cover of The Cross of Iron

Michael Dorosh Author Of Indescribable Ordeal: The History of the German 65th Infantry Division 1942-1945

From my list on explaining the experience of German soldiers in the Second World War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Canadian with bachelor's degrees in history and communications and over thirty-five years of experience in the Canadian Army reserves. My interest in the German Army of the Third Reich period has led to interviews with surviving veterans, visits to various battlefields, a successful YouTube channel, and involvement in military-themed hobbies such as war re-enactment and wargaming which in turn has led to the publication of many related books and magazine articles. Like all of us writing on the subject of Germans in the Second World War, I find it often poorly understood yet hugely compelling for its complex legal, historical, and moral aspects.

Michael's book list on explaining the experience of German soldiers in the Second World War

Michael Dorosh Why did Michael love this book?

With compelling characters and true insights into the historical period it is set in, I consider this the best novel of all time. The movie it inspired is a classic, but the novel delivers much more.

The characters are brought to life with realistic motivations, dialogue, and inner monologues. Heinrich's masterful changes of point of view and suspenseful chapter breaks still maintain my interest every time. 

I can't praise the book enough for its pure literary quality, and even though it is a work of fiction, it has a ring of authenticity about it. The author served in the same regiment his fictional Steiner character belongs to and based him on a soldier who lived through the real-world events Heinrich set his novel in.

By Willi Heinrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cross of Iron as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders

Mark Love Author Of Devious

From my list on contemporary cozy mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a contemporary mystery junkie. Realistic tales always grab my attention. A touch of romance never hurts. In college, one professor suggested the old ‘write what you know’ approach. I don’t know everything, but I know what I like. Mysteries! I thrive on distinctive characters, those who are willing to put every effort into getting to the bottom of the situation. Sharp, tight dialogue and descriptions are essential. Give me that, and I’ll be back for more. This is my passion. Come along if you want a thrill and a surprise or two. 

Mark's book list on contemporary cozy mysteries

Mark Love Why did Mark love this book?

This was my first experience with M.S. Spencer. To say she had me right away would be deadly accurate. The setting, the conflict, the characters, the mystery all flowed together so smoothly, I could easily picture myself propped in a corner of the room, watching everything play out.  

And I must confess that the Milo character has left an indelible mark in my memory. She’s one of my favorite players.

Several times I thought for sure I had figured out who was behind the murders. Of course, I was wrong, but that just kept me going. Spencer always delivers an engaging tale.

By M. S. Spencer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Artful Dodging as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Milo Everhart is waiting out the rain in a pub when she is captivated by the handsome man next to her. Blocking the road to romance are two mysterious corpses who turn up in the tower of her Torpedo Factory Art Center. As if that weren't enough, a second crisis erupts—a proposal to gut her beloved art center.

Tristram Brodie, hard-driving lawyer and former Marine, is focused on his plan to convert the Torpedo Factory into a box store. He is drawn to the beautiful Milo, but their mutual attraction will be frustrated by both the murders and his intentions.…


Book cover of Before the Court of Heaven

Joe Kilgore Author Of A Farmhouse in the Rain

From my list on WWII era that explore conflicts on the home front.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been enamored with the World War II era. It was a time that seems virtually non-existent today, where almost everyone in my country was on the same page. There seemed to be a collective commitment to the struggle. An agreement that this was indeed good versus evil. Of course, I’m sure its nostalgic allure is much greater for those of us who didn’t actually have to live through it. But the strength, perseverance, and everyday heroism it brought out in soldiers and civilians alike, deserves to be chronicled and remembered forever.

Joe's book list on WWII era that explore conflicts on the home front

Joe Kilgore Why did Joe love this book?

Most of this novel’s action occurs between World War I and World War II. It’s the riveting tale of a young German crushed by his country’s defeat and dedicated to doing something about it. He joins a network of assassins and aids in the murder of a high-ranking Jew in the Weimar government. Sent to prison, he meets a unique individual and begins an acute reexamination of everything he’s previously believed. This is a passionately compelling tale of one man looking deep within himself to make sense of what he’s done with his life. The author brings the times, as well as his characters vividly to life and makes this chronicle of redemption a supremely fulfilling read.

By Jack Mayer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Before the Court of Heaven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Historical Fiction based on a true story of Weimar Germany and the rise of the Third Reich. Winner of 13 book awards.2017 Independent Press Award - Winner - Historical Fiction 2017 Independent Press Award - Winner - General Fiction 2016 IndieReader Discovery Award - 1st Place - Fiction2015 Nautilus Book Award Winner - Fiction - Silver medal2016 Readers' Favorite Book Award - Gold Medal - Fiction -Social Issues2016 Finalist - Grand Prize (Eric Hoffer Award) - Fiction2016 Honorable Mention (Eric Hoffer Award) - Commercial Fiction 2016 Finalist - First Horizon Award (Eric Hoffer Award) - Fiction 2015 Finalist - Foreword…


Book cover of The Winds Of War

J. Lawrence Graham Author Of Charlotte's War

From my list on understanding the roots of war and peace.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent the 1970s as an officer in the U.S. Navy UDT/SEAL Teams, giving me insight into the military aspects of peacebuilding. I have spent the last forty years researching and teaching international marketing and negotiations at USC and UC Irvine, after receiving a Berkeley PhD. I was also the director of the UC Irvine Center for Citizen Peacebuilding for ten years. I have published four books on international negotiations and all my ten books in print are on the topic of peace in families, neighborhoods, commerce, and international relations.

J.'s book list on understanding the roots of war and peace

J. Lawrence Graham Why did J. love this book?

The Winds of War is a powerful and intimate story about WWII.

It follows one fictional family through the buildup to the most devastating war in human history. The cultural and political details are most impressive. The writing itself is captivating. I have used it as a model for my own book.

Wouk’s work demonstrates the impact of war on families and establishes the importance of advocating for peaceful resolutions to global disputes.

By Herman Wouk,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Winds Of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II, which begins with THE WINDS OF WAR and continues in WAR AND REMEMBRANCE, stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers.

Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - the drama, the romance, the heroism and the tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very centre of the maelstrom.

"First-rate storytelling." - New York Times

"Compelling . . . A panoramic, engrossing story." - Atlantic…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 1, espionage, and spies?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 1, espionage, and spies.

World War 1 Explore 882 books about World War 1
Espionage Explore 550 books about espionage
Spies Explore 577 books about spies