100 books like Saturday at M.I.9

By Airey Neave,

Here are 100 books that Saturday at M.I.9 fans have personally recommended if you like Saturday at M.I.9. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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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 Behind the Enigma: The Authorized History of Gchq, Britain's Secret Cyber-Intelligence Agency

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?

This is the long-anticipated authorized history of GCHQ, one of Britain’s most top-secret intelligence agencies that was published in 2020. John Ferris was granted rare access to the majority of the archives at GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham.  This volume of over 800 pages provides an open assessment of the crucial role of GCHQ in the most important defining moments of the 20th and 21st centuries; from the codebreakers of the First World War, to breaking of the German Enigma codes in the Second World War, and to contemporary times with the betrayal by whistleblower Edward Snowdon in 2013. Ferris has not been tempted to glamourize GCHQ’s contribution and legacy but provides an honest account that acknowledges that much intelligence work can be laborious. But this does not deflect from the agency’s achievements and fascinating history.

By John Ferris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You know about MI5. You know about MI6. Now discover the untold stories behind Britain's most secretive intelligence agency, in the first ever authorised history of GCHQ. For a hundred years, GCHQ - Government Communications Headquarters - has been at the forefront of innovation in national security and British secret statecraft. Famed for its codebreaking achievements during the Second World War, and essential to the Allied victory, GCHQ also held a critical role in both the Falklands War and Cold War. Today, amidst the growing threats of terrorism and online crime, GCHQ continues to be the UK's leading intelligence, security…


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: The Classic Account of the WW2 Allied Escape Organisation

Peter Dixon Author Of Return to Vienna: The Special Operations Executive and the Rebirth of Austria

From my list on living undercover in constant danger during WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hodder and IVP had already published two of my earlier books—during my three decades as a Royal Air Force pilot and another one leading a conflict resolution NGO—when my journey as a WW2 author began. It all started with my wife's book about her German mother and British Intelligence Corps father (The Bride's Trunk). That got me interested in the links between 'the Corps' and the Special Operations Executive. Three SOE books later, I’m following the organisation into Austria. I've barely scratched the surface of undercover operations and I’m always finding new niches to discover.

Peter's book list on living undercover in constant danger during WW2

Peter Dixon Why did Peter love this book?

I am sure that the authenticity of someone who has ‘been there and done it’ is unchallengeable. Airey Neave, who tragically died in 1979 at the hands of the Irish National Liberation Army, was one such. After successfully escaping from the PoW camp at Colditz, he joined MI9, the War Office section that supported escaping PoWs and downed aircrew. This strikes a chord with me as a former pilot. In this book, he tells the stories of French men and women of all ages and backgrounds, who, at great personal danger, formed the backbone of secret escape lines. The narrative is not over-dramatised and the matter-of-fact style is one I respect, but the courage of those who harboured escapees or acted as couriers comes through clearly. 

By Airey Neave,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Saturday at M.I.9 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Saturday at M.I.9 is the inside story of the underground escape lines in occupied North-West Europe which brought back to Britain over 4,000 Allied servicemen during World War Two.Airey Neave, who in the last two years of the war was the chief organiser at M.I.9 gives his own unique account. He describes how the escape lines began in the first dark days of German occupation and how, until the end of the war, thousands of ordinary men and women made their own contribution to the Allied victory by hiding and feeding men and guiding them to safety.There isn't a page…


Book cover of Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience

Herlinde Pauer-Studer Author Of Konrad Morgen: The Conscience of a Nazi Judge

From my list on Nazi perpetrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Vienna (Austria), interested in ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law. I am fascinated by the work of classical philosophers—foremost, Immanuel Kant and David Hume. A particularly interesting question for me concerns how political and legal systems shape people's identity and self-understanding. One focus of my research is on the distorted legal framework of National Socialist Germany. I wrote, together with Professor J. David Velleman (New York University), Konrad Morgen: The Conscience of a Nazi Judge. In German: "Weil ich nun mal ein Gerechtigkeitsfanatiker bin." Der Fall des SS-Richters Konrad Morgen. 

Herlinde's book list on Nazi perpetrators

Herlinde Pauer-Studer Why did Herlinde love this book?

How can a human being organize an extermination camp and oversee the industrial murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people?

This book is based on journalist Gitta Sereny's conversations with Franz Stangl, the commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp, during his trial in Germany in 1971. It sheds light on how a perpetrator tried to deny his complicity by retreating into a purely functional professional role—a denial that ultimately failed.

At his last meeting with Sereny, Stangl still maintained that he never intended to hurt anyone, though for the first time, he admitted that there was guilt on his part, an acknowledgment with which he could not live. Nineteen hours after his confession, Stangl died of heart failure.

By Gitta Sereny,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Into That Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on 70 hours of interviews with Franz Stangl, commandant of Treblinka (the largest of the five Nazi extermination camps), this book bares the soul of a man who continually found ways to rationalize his role in Hitler's final solution.


Book cover of Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers

Patrick Hicks Author Of The Commandant of Lubizec: A Novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard

From my list on the concentration camps of the Holocaust.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve dedicated most of my writing career to the Holocaust, and in order to create novels that are historically accurate, I’ve interviewed survivors, as well as done research at many of the camps. It is one thing to study Auschwitz, but it’s an entirely different thing to walk its soil. I give lectures on the Holocaust and do readings from my novels all across the country, and I view my work as a way to open discussion about what happened in Europe between 1933-1945. As I often say, just because we live in a post-Holocaust world, does not mean we have come to understand the Holocaust.

Patrick's book list on the concentration camps of the Holocaust

Patrick Hicks Why did Patrick love this book?

This is a shattering account of a man who was forced to work in the gas chambers of Auschwitz for several years. Not only did he see the serial mass murder up close, but he also witnessed the failed rebellion at Crematorium IV on October 7, 1944. Müller’s writing is sparse and harrowing as he describes daily life in the Third Reich’s largest concentration camp. This is an essential document about the Holocaust and it helps the reader understand what it meant to be part of the Sonderkommando—those unfortunate prisoners who were forced to work in the gas chambers and crematoria. This is an unforgettable and vital book.

By Filip Müller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Filip Muller came to Auschwitz with one of the earliest transports from Slovakia in April 1942 and began working in the gassing installations and crematoria in May. He was still alive when the gassings ceased in November 1944. He saw millions come and disappear; by sheer luck he survived. Muller is neither a historian nor a psychologist; he is a source-one of the few prisoners who saw the Jewish people die and lived to tell about it. Eyewitness Auschwitz is one of the key documents of the Holocaust.


Book cover of Last Stop Auschwitz: My Story of Survival from Within the Camp

Erik Brouwer Author Of The Fighter of Auschwitz: The incredible true story of Leen Sanders who boxed to help others survive

From my list on Auschwitz you’ve probably never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've written books about Jewish subjects before. A few years ago I published a biography about a Jewish Dutch actress named Jetta Goudal who invented a new life story for herself and became a Hollywoodstar. Before that I wrote a book about my Jewish great-grandfather Emanuel Brouwer who traveled to London in 1908 to compete in the Olympics. He traveled to the UK by boat with his best friend Isidore Goudeket, who was murdered in a German deathcamp. My great-grandfather did not win a medal in Londen (63rd place!), but he had a lot of fun in London, with loads of beer, whisky, and cigars. In 1943 he was sent to a camp as well. 

Erik's book list on Auschwitz you’ve probably never heard of

Erik Brouwer Why did Erik love this book?

This moving memoir is written in 1945, right after the evacuation of Auschwitz and the start of the Death Marches.

It is considered the only book written inside the camp. Eliazer ‘Eddy’ de Wind hid himself in the camp in January 1945 to escape the Death Marches. He wrote about the daily life in the camp while it was still fresh in his memory. The memoir was published in 1946. Nobody was interested and it bombed, but it was rediscovered in 1980 and became a semi-classic.

By Eddy de Wind,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

'The ultimate Holocaust testimony.' HEATHER MORRIS, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Journey
Afterword by JOHN BOYNE, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
_______________

Eddy de Wind, a Dutch doctor and psychiatrist, was shipped to Auschwitz with his wife Friedel, whom he had met and married at the Westerbork labour camp in the Netherlands. At Auschwitz, they made it through the brutal selection process and were put to work. Each day, each hour became a battle for survival.

For Eddy, this meant negotiating with the volatile guards in the medical…


Book cover of The Note Through the Wire: The Incredible True Story of a Prisoner of War and a Resistance Heroine

Frank Romans Author Of Warriors of Ameraulde

From my list on keeping you turning the pages in anticipation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a book that pulls you into the story, one where maybe you see yourself in the characters. As a boy, I loved to read and would lose myself in books. I find I am drawn to many different types and genres, but especially military or crime dramas. My favorites include historical references and in my own writing I often place characters in an actual historical event, but with a fictional outcome. The most important thing to me is creating a character who is interesting enough to make the reader want more. My personal military experiences were used to begin my first novel while the characters came to life.

Frank's book list on keeping you turning the pages in anticipation

Frank Romans Why did Frank love this book?

I am a sucker for war-time love stories, and the tragedy of this one is it is true. An exceptional piece of writing about courage and love, set in the middle of the most heinous, horrific events of modern history. A simple, crumpled note passed between strangers through a barbed wire fence begins weaving a true tale, a love story rivaling that of Romeo and Juliet.

By Doug Gold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'An unforgettable love story set in perilous times' Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The greatest love blossoms in the darkest hour.

In the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe, two people meet fleetingly in a chance encounter. One is an underground resistance fighter; the other a prisoner of war. A crumpled note passes between these two strangers and sets them on a course that will change their lives forever.

The Note Through the Wire is the stunning true story of Josefine Lobnik, a resistance heroine, and Bruce Murray, an imprisoned soldier, as they discover love in the midst of…


Book cover of Baa, Baa Black Sheep

Nishi Giefer Author Of The Captured

From my list on Twentieth Century POWs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a western mystery writer, rancher, veterinarian, wife, mother, farrier, horse trainer, gardener, seamstress, pilot, homeschooler, tractor jockey, and all-around hand, I conclude that every experience in life is grist for the mill leading to settings, scenery, plots, and character motivations.

Nishi's book list on Twentieth Century POWs

Nishi Giefer Why did Nishi love this book?

The copy I read came from my dad’s collection. It was signed by the author. I don’t know how Dad knew Pappy Boyington, but years ago when Dad and I were walking through a throng of people at Oshkosh, Pappy broke away from a conversation with two very attractive women to wave and call Dad by name. A teenager at the time, I stood in utter shock and amazement while my dad talked planes with a legend. Though the book covers Pappy’s exploits before, during, and after World War II, a large segment is devoted to his time in a Japanese prison camp. One of his fellow detainees was Louis Zamperini, famous Olympic miler. 

By Gregory “Pappy” Boyington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here, in his own words, is the true story of America's wildest flying hero, of his extraordinary heroism, and of his greatest battle of all—the fight to survive.

The World War II air war in the Pacific needed tough men like Colonel Pappy Boyington and his Black Sheep Squadron. The legendary Marine Corps officer and his bunch of misfits, outcasts, and daredevils gave new definition to “hell-raising”—on the ground and in the skies. 

Pappy himself was a living legend—he personally shot down twenty-eight Japanese planes, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. He broke every rule…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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