World War II

British Security Coordination (BSC)

K - S

Kramer, Paul. "Nelson Rockefeller and British Security Coordination." Journal of Contemporary History 16 (Jan. 1981): 73-88.

Lowenthal, Mark M. "Intrepid and the History of World War II." Military Affairs 41, no. 2 (Apr. 1977): 88-90.

Macdonald, William James. The True Intrepid: Sir William Stephenson and the Unknown Agents. Toronto: Timberholme, 1998. 2d ed. Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 2001.

According to Peake, Studies 46.4, the author "examines many of the Stephenson myths and presents a good bibliographic summary of the stories written about him." The second edition "contains details that came to light after publication of the BSC and of the war report in 1999" and includes "a new Foreword by Tom Troy and a new Preface by the author." Troy, IJI&C 20.4 (Winter 2007), notes that Macdonald "unearthed the hitherto untold story of Stephenson's birth in 1897 ... and of his adoption."

CASIS Intelligence Newsletter 34 (Winter 1999) points to related newspaper reportage: Steve Mertl, "Intrepid Book Sheds More Light on Spy's Life," Toronto Star, 29 Dec. 1998; and Olivier Courteaux, "Our International Man of Mystery," National Post (Toronto), 16 Jan. 1999.

MacDonnell, Francis. "The Search for A Second Zimmermann Telegram: FDR, BSC, and the Latin American Front." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 4, no. 4 (Winter 1990): 487-505.

Mahl, Thomas E. Desperate Deceptions: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-44. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1998.

Cohen, FA 77.4 (Jul.-Aug. 1998), calls Desperate Deceptions a "fascinating account of some of the activities of the British [to get the United States into World War II], running the gamut from cleverly skewed spurious polls to the creation of front organizations funded by British intelligence." Seamon, Proceedings 124.12 (Dec. 1998), says that "[t]his record of ... long years of clandestine service [by British covert operatives] is a fascinating addition to the literature on the war."

For Troy, IJI&C 11.4, Mahl "writes clearly and forcefully, but often with much glibness and exaggeration." To the reviewer, it is noteworthy that the text includes only three references to British Prime Minister Churchill. And he finds "untrue ... the assertion made six times ... that Stephenson's deputy, Col. Charles H. ('Dick') Ellis, 'ran' Donovan's organization."

Even more negative about this work is Watt, I&NS 14.2, who argues that Mahl "has used the results of his research to write a polemic that is so over the top as to raise serious doubts ... about the ... peer review which is supposed to precede the decision of a reputable publisher to accept his work for publication." Charles, I&NS 15.2, concludes that "[t]oo few of the arguments presented in this book are convincing; too many are based on innuendo and speculation."

  Naftali, Timothy J. "Intrepid's Last Deception: Documenting the Career of Sir William Stevenson." Intelligence and National Security 8, no. 3 (Jul. 1993): 72-99.

Ogilvy, David. Blood, Brains and Beer. New York: Atheneum, 1978. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1978.

Smith, Bradley F. "Admiral Godfrey's Mission to America, June/July 1941." Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 3 (Sep. 1986): 441-450.

The material presented here includes Smith's comments on and text of the report by the British Director of Naval Intelligence, Adm. J.H. Godfrey, on his visit to the United States in June-July 1941. According to Smith, the document "shows Admiral Godfrey more closely involved with the developmental activities of William Stephenson ... and William Donovan ... than many scholars ... had realised.... Admiral Godfrey not only gave direct support to the cause of William Donovan and the COI, but ... he went to ... unprecedented lengths to assist them."

Stafford, David. Camp X: Canada's School for Secret Agents, 1941-45. Toronto: Lester and Oprey Dennys, 1986. Harmondsworth: Viking/Penguin, 1986. Camp X: SOE and the American Connection. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1986. New York: Pocket Books, 1988. [pb]

Clark comment: Stafford provides a scholarly account of this SOE training base on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, which was used by the British in providing some initial training for OSS secret operatives. Charles, I&NS 15.2, finds Camp X to be a "well-researched account" of the secret training base. Stafford also "corrects much of the mythology surrounding British intelligence in the Americas promoted by Stevenson's A Man Called Intrepid." See also, Lynn-Philip Hodgson, Inside-Camp X (1999) and Daniel P. King, "Trip to Camp X," Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012): 27-30.

Stafford, David.

1. "'Intrepid': Myth and Reality." Journal of Contemporary History 22, no. 2 (1987): 303-317.

2. "A Myth Called Intrepid." Saturday Night (Toronto), Oct.1989, 33-37.

Stevenson, William. A Man Called Intrepid: The Secret War, 1939-1945. London: Macmillan, 1976. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976. New York: Ballantine, 1976. [pb]

According to Pforzheimer, the author's work "has been severely attacked ... as inaccurate in many respects, badly documented and grossly inflated." Constantinides says the book "does not fully represent a historically correct account of Stephenson's work and that of BSC." Implying that Stephenson was the leader of British intelligence and BSC the center of British intelligence efforts worldwide is a serious exaggeration.

Charles, I&NS 15.2, sees this as an "embellished account" that "contains inaccuracies" and makes "[q]uestionable claims." Even stronger negative comments come from Troy, IJI&C 20.4 (Winter 2007), who characterizes A Man Called Intrepid as a "best-selling but thoroughly unreliable" book, and West, I&NS 19.2/276, to whom the work is "hopelessly unreliable."

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