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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 cryptopgraher of genius. In Between Silk and Cyanide, his critically acclaimed account of his time in SOE, Marks tells how he revolutionised the code-making techniques of the Allies, trained some of the most famous agents dropped into France including Violette Szabo and 'the White Rabbit', and why he wrote haunting verse 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's book is truly one of the last great Second World War memoirs.
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About the Author

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.

Reviews

David Kahn author of "The Codebreakers" Many are the books about codebreaking. Few, if any, exist about codemaking, even though it is more important to keep one's own secrets than to learn the enemy's. Leo Marks has written one at last -- and one that is illuminating, gripping, and very human. 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. "The New York Times Book Review"[A] spellbinding real-life thriller....A compelling insider's view to the shadow war: intrigue and treachery, double-dealing and deception, hope and despair, triumph and tragedy. Martin ScorseseA 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. "The New York Times Book Review"�A� spellbinding real-life thriller....A compelling insider's view to the shadow war: intrigue and treachery, double-dealing and deception, hope and despair, triumph and tragedy. Richard Bernstein"The New York Times"An enthralling book, one full of an eccentric charm as well as fascinating, previously undisclosed details of the secret war waged in the occupied countries. Ken Ringle"The Washington Post"A welcome and powerfully affecting chapter of World War II history, and a very human story of the most clandestine and cerebral art of making war.

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