Saboteur tells the story of one of the most remarkable secret agents of the Second World War – Tony Brooks DSO MC (1922-2007). His deeds were outstanding – creating the PIMENTO sabotage network in southern France for F Section of the Special Operations Executive – but so, too, was his remarkable personal achievement. The youngest agent sent into the field, aged a mere twenty years old when he was parachuted behind the lines in July 1942, he displayed a precocious talent for clandestine warfare. By D-Day he had created a fighting force of thousands of men and women, who he had armed by means of the RAF supply drops that he had expertly coordinated. Consequently, PIMENTO was able to make a telling contribution to the liberation of France in 1944.
Tony Brooks’s story is more extraordinary than the fruits of a novelist’s imagination. Initially, he and Mark Seaman attempted a ‘free’, ghosted autobiography but Tony decided he wanted none of that. He stipulated that the account of his and his comrades’ endeavours be entirely factual and that, in style and content, it had to be very different from the loose accounts written by and for many of his SOE contemporaries. Saboteur has relied upon more than a decade’s interviews with its subject but it also benefits from unique access to Tony Brooks’s substantial, personal archive. Meanwhile, a wealth of archival sources have been mined in Britain, France and the USA to underpin the descriptions drawn from Tony’s extraordinary memory. Mark Seaman’s unique connections to the community of SOE veterans permitted him interviews with Tony’s wartime colleagues and he forged links with many PIMENTO comrades in France. Whatever the author’s ultimate shortcomings, no effort has been spared to make Saboteurthe book that Tony wanted.
Mark Seaman is a military historian who for nearly forty years has specialised in the study of intelligence and special operations. He was an historian at the Imperial War Museum from 1980 to 2002 during which time he was the historical adviser for an exhibition on European Resistance, curated the permanent gallery ‘Secret War’ and organised the first international conference on the Special Operations Executive. In 2002 he joined the Cabinet Office and has collaborated on official works on SOE and the authorised history of the Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 by Keith Jef...
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