The Shooting Star: Denis Rake MC, A Clandestine Hero of the Second World War by Geoffrey Elliott - review by Roderick Bailey

Roderick Bailey

The Spy Who Loved Men

The Shooting Star: Denis Rake MC, A Clandestine Hero of the Second World War

By

Methuen 251pp £18.99 order from our bookshop
 

A few years ago, in the shelves of McNaughton’s bookshop in Edinburgh, I turned up a copy of They Fought Alone, a 1958 account of British agents’ exploits with the French Resistance. The author, Maurice Buckmaster, had been head of the French Section of Britain’s Special Operations Executive. Scribbled inside the cover, in red ink long faded to pink, is a page-length inscription by Denis Rake, one of the featured agents. ‘A mon cher ami Arthur’, Rake’s note begins. ‘You will find lots of things not as I told you.’

Outwardly a memoir, They Fought Alone is a book of its time, heavy with tales of dramatic derring-do and long bursts of imagined conversation. Dialogue aside, it is shot through with inaccuracies. Such is the way with many memoirs, of course, especially those of men once engaged in

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