One Day in August (Hardback)
Ian Fleming, Enigma, and the Deadly Raid on Dieppe
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'A lively and readable account' Spectator
'A fine book … well-written and well-researched' Washington Times
In less than six hours in August 1942, nearly 1,000 British, Canadian and American commandos died in the French port of Dieppe in an operation that for decades seemed to have no real purpose. Was it a dry-run for D-Day, or perhaps a gesture by the Allies to placate Stalin's impatience for a second front in the west?
Historian David O'Keefe uses hitherto classified intelligence archives to prove that this catastrophic and apparently futile raid was in fact a mission, set up by Ian Fleming of British Naval Intelligence as part of a 'pinch' policy designed to capture material relating to the four-rotor Enigma Machine that would permit codebreakers like Alan Turing at Bletchley Park to turn the tide of the Second World War.
'A fast-paced and convincing book … that clears up decades of misinformation about the ignoble raid' Toronto Star
Based on extensive original research … O'Keefe's landmark new book presents a new and original explanation of what happened on that fateful August day in 1942.
Highly original and bracingly revisionist, One Day in August is that rare book that is able to say something new about something so familiar. Based on extensive research in official records in Canada and Britain, many of them previously undiscovered or long-forgotten, One Day in August is historical writing at its best: engrossing, revealing, and enlightening.
O'Keefe has definitely made the biggest breakthrough of the last twenty years in our understanding of the raid … His principal research achievement is to have kept digging in the British archives with such persistence that the keepers of the British code-breaking secrets conceded that there was no point holding back the remaining records linking Bletchley Park, Ian Fleming and the Dieppe raid.
In the same way that intelligence in the Second World War had to be based on multiple sources rather than a single thunderclap moment or dramatic source, David has built this case through a whole series of small pieces of evidence … [He] has certainly changed our view of Dieppe into the future; he has added a new dimension that we really weren't aware of before.
O'Keefe tells a masterful story of the intrigue and cryptology behind the fighting forces … I will be among the first to say that any subsequent book on Dieppe or Ultra intelligence will have to take into account his stunning new research and bold claims … For years, popular histories were derided, especially by academics, as all story and no analysis, and for offering few new contributions to understanding the past. But that seems to be changing in recent years, as the best popularizers find new hooks and angles for their histories, and employ new evidence – usually oral histories, or, in O'Keefe's case, deep archival research – in innovative and revealing ways.