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  • The Walls Have Ears

  • The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World War II
  • By: Helen Fry
  • Narrated by: Jean Gilpin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (64 ratings)

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The Walls Have Ears cover art

The Walls Have Ears

By: Helen Fry
Narrated by: Jean Gilpin
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Summary

A history of the elaborate and brilliantly sustained World War II intelligence operation by which Hitler's generals were tricked into giving away vital Nazi secrets...

At the outbreak of World War II, MI6 spymaster Thomas Kendrick arrived at the Tower of London to set up a top secret operation: German prisoners' cells were to be bugged and listeners installed behind the walls to record and transcribe their private conversations. This mission proved so effective that it would go on to be set up at three further sites - and provide the Allies with crucial insight into new technology being developed by the Nazis.

In this astonishing history, Helen Fry uncovers the inner workings of the bugging operation. On arrival at stately-homes-turned-prisons like Trent Park, high-ranking German generals and commanders were given a "phony" interrogation, then treated as "guests," wined and dined at exclusive clubs, and encouraged to talk. And so it was that the Allies got access to some of Hitler's most closely guarded secrets - and from those most entrusted to protect them.

©2019 Helen Fry (P)2019 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about The Walls Have Ears

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting story let down by bad writing and poor narration

This book makes the bold claim in the first few sentences that this was “the greatest intelligence operation of WWII”.

It wasn’t.

Within the next few minutes the author notes OP BODYGUARD, which was arguably the greatest intelligence operation of the war.

Apart from this obvious error the story is good, but is let down by a simplistic writing style and a rather school-mistress approach to the narration.

As a result I was not engaged by the story, nor the narration. This is a pity as it feels like there is a lot more that can be drawn out from the files.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The title says it all

As a nation, we're always putting ourselves down but this book reveals the vast and untapped potential of our understated national character.
The work at these listening centres undoubtedly had a massively beneficial effect on the war effort and al done in the most civilised fashion by men of great vision and determination.
Finishing this book has made a huge difference to my understanding of human nature too so time very well spent learning across a number of fronts.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Shows how Bad the Nazis were.

A story that just shows you what went on in the war behind the scenes.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Well worth the time

Well read, nice to appreciate knowledge from a new angle, much of the information was new to me

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Stunning

My first experience of an audio book could not have been better. A very intersesting subject delivered with the crystal clear voice of Jean Gilpin. Thoroughly enjoyable experience all in. Hats off to Helen Fry and the team for giving us perhaps just a glimpse of what these people did for the British war effort, my deepest gratitude to all of them.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

British intelligence at it's best

An incredible account of wartime intelligence ingenuity that rates along side the better know code breaking successes. The detail in this book means that this is a work for WW2 enthusiasts and scholars of intelligence rather than the casual reader, but it is fascinating account none the less.

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  • 21-08-22

Fascinating. Ingenuous work

makes me proud to be British. Cunning, no coercion and no torture.
Film needed.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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fantastic

I think the story is absolutely fascinating and I've listened to Helen on podcasts and she is really passionate and makes you want to listen but the narrator on the audiobook is a bit monotone.. I don't know if she has been directed or anything, I dont mean to be rude or disrespectful but she makes something so fascinating sound very mundane and boring, having said that I continued to listen

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

This was possibly the best & most interesting audible book I have ever listened to

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating but…

spoiled by the slow, ponderous narration.
I found the rendition of dates particularly irritating.

The work at Trent Park was clearly an amazing coup for British Intelligence and the book gives a fascinating glimpse into the work of the British and thinking of the German POWs.

However the narrative is rambling and repetitive, and lacks overall cohesion.

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