Professor Michael Foot CBE, the son of a soldier, was born in England in 1919. He was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, and joined the British Army on the outbreak of the Second World War.He started the war a member of the Royal Artillery, then went to France as a member of SAS (Special Air Service, of which he was the intelligence officer). In 1945 he was decorated for service with the French Resistance in Brittany.
After the war Foot taught at Oxford University for eight years before becoming Professor of Modern History at Manchester University. He was made a CBE in 2000. M.R.D.Foot died in 2012.
‘It is impossible to imagine M.R.D. Foot’s position as the pre-eminent historian of SOE ever being challenged’ Antony Beevor.
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SOE, the Special Operations Executive, was a small tough British secret service, a dirty tricks department, set up in July 1940. Recruited from remarkably diverse callings, the men and women who were members of this most secret agency in the Second World War lived in great and constant danger. Their job was to support and stimulate resistance behind enemy lines; their credentials fortitude, courage, immense patience and a devotion to freedom.
The activity of the SOE was world-wide. Abyssinian tribesmen, smugglers, printers, policemen, telephonists, tycoons, prostitutes, rubber workers, railwaymen, peasants from the Pyrenées to the Balkans, even the regent of Siam – all had a part to play as saboteurs, informers, partisans or secret agents.
In this engrossing and illuminating study, the eminent Second World War historian, M.R.D Foot, sheds fresh light on the heroism of individual SOE agents across the world and provides us with the definitive account of the Executive’s crucial wartime work.
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William Mackenzie’s in-house history of the Special Operations Executive made no secret of the disaster in Holland, long notorious in the secret world as well as in the news media, but entered into few details. The full story is now set out, from SOE’s surviving archives, by a leading expert on the subject, whose ground-breaking SOE in France first appeared 35 years ago. This book tells a series of harrowing stories of confusion, ineptitude, blundering, and courage, placing the minute details in their proper contexts of strategy and history. It also provides the first authoritative account of precisely what happened in a classic case of counter-espionage.
“It is impossible to imagine M.R.D. Foot’s position as the pre-eminent historian of SOE ever being challenged.” – Antony Beevor
RESISTANCE: AN ANALYSIS OF EUROPEAN RESISTANCE TO NAZISM, 1940–1945 – Buy it here
PUBLICATION DATE: November 1976
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Forged passports, secret maps, ingenious disguises, underground networks in times of war, tales of escape and evasion can be even more spectacular and heroic than those of victory in battle.
Many of the most famous escapes in history took place during World War II. These daring flights from Nazi-occupied Europe would never have been possible but for the assistance of a hitherto secret British service: MI9. This small, dedicated and endlessly inventive team gave hope to the men who had fallen into enemy hands and aid to resistance fighters in occupied territory. It sent in money, maps, clothes, compasses, even hacksaws and in return coded letters from the prisoner-of-war camps provided invaluable news of what was happening in the enemy s homeland. Understaffed and under-resourced, MI9 nonetheless made a terrific contribution to the Allied war effort. First published in 1979, this book tells the full, inside story of an extraordinary organisation.
The best collection of military, espionage, and adventure stories ever told.The Dialogue Espionage Classics series began in 2010 with the purpose of bringing back classic out-of-print spy stories that should never be forgotten. From the Great War to the Cold War, from the French Resistance to the Cambridge Five, from Special Operations to Bletchley Park, this fascinating spy history series includes some of the best military, espionage and adventure stories ever told.
SIX FACES OF COURAGE – Buy it here.
In this book, M.R.D. Foot traces the secret lives of six members of various European resistance movements and networks, two women and four men, outstanding even in this brilliant company for their courage. Through these six dramatic narratives, Foot shows vividly what was involved in wartime resistance, and what affected success or failure: liaison with London, relations between groups and individuals, agents’ methods of work, the organisation of particular networks, and not least the perpetual counter-offensive of the Gestapo.
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword
PUBLICATION DATE: 29th January 2003
MEMORIES OF AN SOE HISTORIAN- Buy it here
Michael (MRD) Foot enjoys the rare distinction of being the only person referred to by his real name in a John Le Carre novel. A highly significant tribute to the man entrusted with writing the official record of the Special Operations Executive. He authored first (1966) the History of SOE in France and twenty years later the highly sensitive accounts of SOE operations in Belgium and Holland (which the Germans infiltrated with disastrous results). With his own war service background and academic reputation MRD was an inspired choice for these historic tasks. He was fearless in pursuit of the truth and in thwarting bureaucratic attempts to muzzle him. His war exploits make thrilling reading. His behind-the-lines mission to track down a notorious SD interrogator went badly wrong and he only just escaped with his life. His career has brought him into close contact with an astonishing cast of characters and his tongue-in-cheek account of academic life makes lively reading.
“He has the gift of good anecdotes…has an eye for vivid detail, and possesses total recall.” The Independent.
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
PUBLICATION DATE: October 2008
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SOE in France was first published in 1966, followed by a second impression with amendments in 1968. Since these editions were published, other material on SOE has become available. It was, therefore, agreed in 2000 that Professor Foot should produce a revised version. In so doing, in addition to the material in the first edition, the author has had access to previously closed government records, as well as drawing upon his own invaluable wartime experiences and the recollections of those involved.