Agent in Italy: A Memoir of a Spy in World War II with a Study Guide

I couldn’t hear a sound, either from the corridor and offices beyond the door or from the sleeping city of Milan outside. All the rest of the world could have died.

It was stifling. Italian police stations are badly ventilated. My throat was very dry and I kept coughing. I smoked another cigarette but that made it worse. The smoke hung in the dead air.

I tried the door again. My wet palm slipped on the unclean handle. The door was still locked, of course.

I didn’t know exactly what time it was because they’d taken my watch away from me. I guessed about three in the morning. I was going to be shot at six.

Thus begins this amazing; book—both a thrilling story of personal danger in Italy’s underground movement, and a fully detailed, authentic report on the crumbling of Italian Fascist morale under the terror of German occupancy.

The gripping adventures experienced by S. K. during his undercover work in Italy give us a picture of methods which more than match all we have heard of German and Russian espionage work. Yet they are absolutely bona fide—the author’s credentials have been carefully checked. He remains anonymous for the protection of those colleagues still carrying on the Democratic revolution.

Working with groups of fearless Italian patriots, it was S. K. who first revealed to the outside world through confidential information on Germany’s flame-throwing tanks, the intention of Mussolini to move against Greece, the use of American dollars for the purchase of oil in French African ports by submarine captions, the shipping of Messerschimitts to Central America, the existence of camouflaged airports in Nicaragua and Bolivia, the sending of Stukas to Japan, and the building of new Condors in Holland.

In addition to these sensational disclosures, agent in Italy now reveals fully detailed story of the German occupation of Italy, giving facts and figures, including an estimate of 400,000 Germans now keeping the junior Axis partner under shaky control.

Filled with tense and breathless incident, this book, the first to disclose the bitter ordeal of Italy, bring the excitement of the mystery novel to one of the most important factual documents of our day.

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Agent In Italy

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An Army of Amateurs

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AN ARMY OF AMATEURS is the incredible story of the resistance of the ordinary Frenchman in the street to the Nazis—secretly sapping the strength of the invading armies until the final Allied victory. Here is a picture of a group of dedicated but inexperienced citizens who risked their lives and displayed enormous courage—winning despite the many blunders that amateurs were bound to make.

Philippe De Vomécourt, who with his two brothers, and the aid of Great Britain, helped to organize the resistance, began his operations by obtaining a job with the Nazis as an inspector of railroad trucks-enabling him to see that these trucks failed to get to the proper destination, to plan “escape routes” and assist in smuggling Jews to safety.

It was not long, however, before the Nazis began to suspect Philippe of being a traitor and eventually the luck of the de Vomécourt brothers ran out. One of them—who saw to it that every single torpedo ship leaving Germany was blown up—paid for his work by death in a concentration camp. Philippe was sentenced to hard labor but soon showed his unfailing ingenuity and daring by managing to escape—taking with him fifty-three other prisoners. Departing for England with a small group, he returned to France before D-Day to supervise the cloak-and-dagger activities of his own group, Special Operations Executive, enlisting anyone who was willing to help them harass the Germans.

AN ARMY OF AMATEURS is an important book, packed with heroism, hair raising escapes, and some sharp criticism of France’s allies.

Philippe De Vomécourt was born in France in 1902 and educated in England. As a young man, he joined the Flying Corps (British) in World War I, later studying agriculture and managing a farm in Africa. After marrying, he lived in the New Herbrides and then Australia before settling in France.