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Hitler's Spy Chief

Narrated by: Mark Topping
Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)
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Summary

How Hitler's spy chief sabotaged the German war effort.

Wilhelm Canaris was appointed by Hitler to head the Abwehr (the German secret service) 18 months after the Nazis came to power. But Canaris turned against the Fuhrer and the Nazi regime, believing that Hitler would start a war Germany could not win. In 1938 he was involved in an attempted coup, undermined by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. In 1940 he sabotaged the German plan to invade England and fed General Franco vital information that helped him keep Spain out of the war.

For years he played a dangerous double game, desperately trying to keep one step ahead of the Gestapo. The SS chief, Heinrich Himmler, became suspicious of the Abwehr and by 1944, when Abwehr personnel were involved in the attempted assassination of Hitler, he had the evidence to arrest Canaris himself. Canaris was executed a few weeks before the end of the war.

©2006 Richard Bassett (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing! The Inside Track on WWII Intelligence!

I’ve always thought that I knew a lot about WWII .
However, I learnt, after listening to this book that my knowledge was limited to the basic conflict/battles and the wider strategic issues - this book introduced me to the little-known “cloak-and -dagger” world of spies, intelligence and counter intelligence.

I was shattered to find out that the German and British intelligence arms kept in contact with one another throughout the war!

I learnt that the Germans were partnering with the Japanese on submarine development prior to WWII.

I learnt how fatal the Allies’ demand for an “unconditional surrender” has been - it destroyed any chance of a negotiated peace that Germans, like Canaris, were seeking.

I learnt about the extent of the German generals’ reluctance to go to war had been ... from the outset!!

I learnt that Admiral Canaris was a great and very brave man who risked his life daily at doing what he thought would save his Germany.

I’m not sure if there’s a statue of Canaris in Germany, but there should be ... and it should be a big one!!!

An excellent book, well-researched and loaded with interesting (and new) WWII facts!

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  • C
  • 23-05-18

Canaris is fascinating, but this “history” lacks depth

Overall, this was an entertaining story, but it does not satisfy as a work of history.

Wilhelm Canaris, the protagonist, is a fascinating individual with an impressive array of achievements. Interestingly, as chief of the German foreign intelligence service before and during WW2, there is substantial evidence that he both supported and didn’t support Germany in the war.

Some resolution of this central contradiction is essential. Yet, unfortunately, there is no substantive analysis or investigation of this contradiction in Bassett’s book. Instead it is, so to speak, “just one %}#€ing thing after another” and ultimately unenlightening. For such a fascinating biographic topic this is a real disappointment.

There were also a number of issue with the recording, a surprise given Audible’s high standards. Many words were mispronounced, using neither British nor American English- e.g. macabre, sine qua non. Several sentences were repeated, as if the recording skipped. This problem has not occurred for me with any other Audible book so I suspect it is an issue with the recording not the Audible software.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • RC
  • 18-03-18

Excellent, insight

Excellent insight into the dilemma of men trapped on the wrong side of history.

What would you do if you realised you were on the wrong side?

Our hats have skulls on.

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Not recommended

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

No reader with a serious interest in biography or history shiould read this book. The use of words such as “if, “it seems likely that” and “there is no evidence in the files but it is probable that” do not belong in any authoritative work.

Would you ever listen to anything by Richard Bassett again?

No

What about Mark Topping’s performance did you like?

A very good performance.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No.

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  • kucherv
  • 10-05-18

well researched but dry

This is a great book, the author has put a lot of work into it, but it's dry. i found it hard to get into it.

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  • Allen
  • 27-03-18

Canaris, a spy, but for who?

A must read for anyone even remotely interested in espionage. Couldn't stop listening. Looking forward to getting a hard copy to add to my library.

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  • username_unavaliable
  • 14-06-18

not much going on, more of a biography

Very little action or interesting content. Just drones on about the guys whole life story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful