Simon Heffer

The Enemy Within

An Underworld at War: Spivs, Deserters, Racketeers and Civilians in the Second World War


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THE ROMANTICISM THAT clothed the British effort in the Second World War has taken some decades to wear thin. Correlli Barnett, in his magisterial The Audit of War (published in 1986), gave the lie to the notion that all classes were pulling together in the drive to keep Britain supplied. As he pointed out, trade unions in vital industries saw nothing unpatriotic in striking, and management often saw no reason to improve practices unless they themselves benefited drectly. In this book, Donald Thomas has done for the dishonest members of wartime British society what Barnett did for the honest ones. He has provided an audit of criminal life in the Second World War, and very entertaining and edifjing reading it makes too.

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