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A Game of Birds and Wolves

The Secret Game that Revolutionised the War

Simon Parkin



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Hodder & Stoughton
27 January 2021
It's 1941. Imagine you're Winston Churchill.

The Battle of the Atlantic is a disaster. Supply ships ferrying vital weapons, food and fuel from North America are being torpedoed by the German U-boats.

You are concealing from the country the number of ships sunk. You are concealing the number of men killed. Without the supply ships Britain will starve. The tide of the war is turning in Germany's favour.

This is the story of the game of battleships that won the Second World War. In 1941 Prime Minster Winston Churchill gathered a group of unlikely heroes - a retired naval captain and eight brilliant young women, the youngest only seventeen years-old - to form a secret strategy unit. On the top floor of a ramshackle HQ in Liverpool, the Western Approaches Tactical Unit spent day and night playing war games to crack the U-boat tactics.

A GAME OF BIRDS AND WOLVES takes us from the steamy fug of a U-boat as the German aces coordinate their wolfpack, to the tense atmosphere of 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 in this gripping tale of war at sea.
By:   Simon Parkin
Imprint:   Hodder & Stoughton
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 196mm,  Width: 128mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   240g
ISBN:   9781529353211
ISBN 10:   1529353211
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   27 January 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Simon Parkin is an award-winning British writer and journalist. He is a contributing writer for the New Yorker, game critic for the Observer newspaper and a regular contributor to the Guardian's Long Read and other publications, writing investigative pieces, profiles, criticism and essays on a variety of subjects, often around culture, video games and technology. He lives in West Sussex.

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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