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  • The Walls Have Ears

  • The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World War II
  • By: Helen Fry
  • Narrated by: Jean Gilpin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Summary

A history of the elaborate and brilliantly sustained World War II intelligence operation by which Hitler's generals were tricked into giving away vital Nazi secrets... 

At the outbreak of World War II, MI6 spymaster Thomas Kendrick arrived at the Tower of London to set up a top secret operation: German prisoners' cells were to be bugged and listeners installed behind the walls to record and transcribe their private conversations. This mission proved so effective that it would go on to be set up at three further sites - and provide the Allies with crucial insight into new technology being developed by the Nazis. 

In this astonishing history, Helen Fry uncovers the inner workings of the bugging operation. On arrival at stately-homes-turned-prisons like Trent Park, high-ranking German generals and commanders were given a "phony" interrogation, then treated as "guests," wined and dined at exclusive clubs, and encouraged to talk. And so it was that the Allies got access to some of Hitler's most closely guarded secrets - and from those most entrusted to protect them.

©2019 Helen Fry (P)2019 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Walls Have Ears

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Returned after a 5 minute listen.

I really wanted to find out more about this subject but after 5 mins had to return it. The narration is truly awful and is very robitic. Most annoying is the attempt at German accents. The other is giving dates as 1 October instead of the 1st of October. Audible, please record it using a different reader and I'll give it another go. I'll avoid other books by the narrator.

4 people found this helpful

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The title says it all

As a nation, we're always putting ourselves down but this book reveals the vast and untapped potential of our understated national character.
The work at these listening centres undoubtedly had a massively beneficial effect on the war effort and al done in the most civilised fashion by men of great vision and determination.
Finishing this book has made a huge difference to my understanding of human nature too so time very well spent learning across a number of fronts.

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British intelligence at it's best

An incredible account of wartime intelligence ingenuity that rates along side the better know code breaking successes. The detail in this book means that this is a work for WW2 enthusiasts and scholars of intelligence rather than the casual reader, but it is fascinating account none the less.

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Shows how Bad the Nazis were.

A story that just shows you what went on in the war behind the scenes.

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fantastic

I think the story is absolutely fascinating and I've listened to Helen on podcasts and she is really passionate and makes you want to listen but the narrator on the audiobook is a bit monotone.. I don't know if she has been directed or anything, I dont mean to be rude or disrespectful but she makes something so fascinating sound very mundane and boring, having said that I continued to listen

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Comprehensive, but...

A triumph of research into one of the more arcane details of the war in Europe 1939-45. The work of Kendrick et al at Trent Park was clearly instrumental in planning the Allied response to German innovations and military strategy.

However as a narrative the account meanders into long lists of people, and undeveloped pieces of detail. Which makes for a difficult listen. I suspect this book is better to read than to listen to, as the account cries out for illustration and period photographs to help the non expert follow the detail.

The narrator is fine, with exemplary German pronunciation of names, and an engaging tone.

Overall if you have an interest in military intelligence, and British treatment and exploitation of POWs in WWII, this may be of interest, especially the accounts of taking Nazi POWs on nights out in Central London!

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Profile Image for Christopher Daniels
  • Christopher Daniels
  • 22-05-20

inresting look into a secret world.

interesting to see how information was so easily gotten during the war.
I didn't like the reader's use of a fake German accent. But other then that it is a good listen.