Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War 1941-45

Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War 1941-45


By (author) Leo Marks

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  • Publisher: Sutton Publishing Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 194mm x 46mm | 621g
  • Publication date: 1 October 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Stroud
  • ISBN 10: 0750948353
  • ISBN 13: 9780750948357
  • Illustrations note: black and white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 81,099

Product description

In 1942, with a black-market chicken under his arm, Leo Marks left his father's famous bookshop, 84 charing cross road, and went to war. He was twenty-two and a cryptographer of genius. In "Between silk and cyanide", his critically acclaimed account of his time in SOE, Marks tells how he revolutionized the code-making techniques of the Allies, trained some of the most famous agents, who dropped into France including Violette Szabo and 'the White Rabbit', and why he wrote haunting verses including his "The Life that I have" poem. He reveals for the first time the disastrous dimensions of the code war between SOE and the Germans in Holland; how the Germans were fooled into thinking a Secret Army was operating in the Fatherland itself; and how and why he broke General de Gaulle's secret code. Both thrilling and Poignant, Marks' book is truly one of the last great Second World War memoirs.

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Author information

Leo Marks himself is a legend both as a cryptographer and as a scriptwriter. His most famous work, Peeping Tom, a terrifying thriller about a killer obsessed with photographing the fear on the faces of the beautiful women he is about to murder, is a cult classic of 1960s cinema. He was also the voice of Satan in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ.

Review quote

Martin Scorsese "Between Silk and Cyanide" is a mesmerizing account of World War II as fought on the home front in Great Britain by the ingenious codemakers whose work determined the life and death of the Allied agents in occupied Europe. Leo Marks, a brilliant cryptographer, is a masterful and passionate storyteller. I was immediately swept into his secret world of codes and "undecipherables," trying at times (without success) to unravel the puzzles myself, and found it difficult to put down the book until the drama had come to an end.