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A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Secret Game that Revolutionised the War

Simon Parkin

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Paperback

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Sceptre
01 November 2019
History; Maritime history; Second World War; Naval forces & warfare; Defence strategy, planning & research
1941. The Battle of the Atlantic is a disaster. Thousands of supply ships ferrying vital food and fuel from North America to Britain are being torpedoed by German U-boats.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill is lying to the country about the number of British ships sunk. He is lying about the number of British men killed. And worst of all, unless something changes, he knows that Britain is weeks away from being starved into surrender to the Nazis.

This is the story of the game of battleships that won the Second World War. In the first week of 1942 a group of unlikely heroes - a retired naval captain and a clutch of brilliant young women, the youngest only seventeen-years-old - gather to form a secret strategy unit. On the top floor of a bomb-bruised HQ in Liverpool, the Western Approaches Tactical Unit spends days and nights designing and playing wargames in an effort to crack the U-boat tactics.

A GAME OF BIRDS AND WOLVES takes us from the sweltering fug of a U-boat as the German aces coordinate their wolfpack, to the tense atmosphere of the operation room as the British team plot battles at sea on the map.

The story of Operation Raspberry and its unsung heroines has never been told before. Investigative journalist Simon Parkin brings these hidden figures into the light and shows the ingenuity, perseverance and love needed to defeat the Nazis in this gripping tale of war at sea.
By:   Simon Parkin
Imprint:   Sceptre
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   420g
ISBN:   9781529353044
ISBN 10:   1529353041
Pages:   336
Publication Date:   01 November 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Simon Parkin is a British writer and journalist for magazines, newspapers and websites. He is contributing writer for the New Yorker, a regular contributor to the Guardian's Long Read, and the game critic for the Observer. He lives in West Sussex, England.

Reviews for A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Secret Game that Revolutionised the War

A stunning book about an unknown part of the largely forgotten Battle of the Atlantic, which is a must read. * Niall Kilgour, chairman of the Submariners Association * This is the riveting true story of war, amazing women, and one of the most important games in history. * Major Tom Mouat MBE, Simulation and Modelling Technology School, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom * Simon Parkin describes brilliantly the key role of WATU in the Battle of the Atlantic. I was proud to read of my mother's role as a Wren with influence far beyond her age and experience, and of my father's application of WATU-designed tactics in the key anti-U boat battle of the Atlantic. * Vice Admiral Mike Gretton, son of Judy Du Vivier and Sir Peter Gretton * A hugely enjoyable and exciting book . . . A compelling and important new story, lucidly and humanely told. * Roland Phillipps, author of A SPY NAMED ORPHAN * Gripping . . . a great read. * Sorted Magazine * Enthralling . . . a pacey read with some wonderfully vivid set pieces * Literary Review * This is a thrilling story, compellingly told * History Revealed * With novelistic flair, Parkin transforms material gathered from research, interviews, and unpublished accounts into a highly readable book that celebrates the ingenuity of a British naval 'reject' and the accomplishments of the formerly faceless women never officially rewarded for their contribution to the Allied defeat of Germany. A lively, sharp WWII history. * Kirkus Reviews * History writing at its best * Booklist (starred review) * A triumph * Daily Mirror * Engaging and skilful . . . [Parkin] writes with real flair and the human side of this story is brought out with fine vignettes and character sketches . . . If the place of women in Britain's naval war has been played down, Parkin's vivid story recovers it handsomely . . . Inside his narrative is a desire to show how ordinary people did extraordinary things in wartime . . . this is a good read on a corner of the war and the men and women who peopled it - one very much worthy of our attention. -- Richard Overy * Guardian * In a riveting, intricately researched book, Simon Parkin tells the previously unknown story behind the Allied victory in the Atlantic during World War II. It's an underdog's tale - not only of British supply fleets trying to outrun German U-boats, but also of the women game designers who made that victory possible. * Ian Bogost, Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Contributing writer at The Atlantic, and author of PLAY ANYTHING * Sheds compelling new light on the ferocious struggle being played out in the mid-Atlantic ... [A Game of Birds and Wolves] has all the elements of a film * Sunday Times * [A] splendid new history of the war in the Atlantic . . . Simon Parkin's book rips along at full sail and is full of personality and personalities. Above all, it brings a barely known aspect of the sea war out into the light. Which is a triumph in itself. -- John Lewis Stempel * Sunday Express *


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