The Office of Strategic Services

General Overviews

A - E

Alcorn, Robert Hayden.

1. No Bugles for Spies: Tales of the OSS. New York: David McKay, 1962. London: Jarrolds, 1963.

Constantinides: Alcorn served in staff positions in both COI and OSS, and was "special funds officer" in London. "It is in the section of the book in which he discusses the importance of finances for operations and the security problems involved in the acquisition of foreign currencies to be used operationally that Alcorn has the most to contribute.... Alcorn is most at home telling administrative and support stories."

For Kent, Studies 8.1 (Winter 1964), this "book is a good part fiction and the rest a highly inaccurate reminiscence.... Alcorn's reminiscences of life in [OSS] R&A Branch ... soured this reviewer on the general credibility of the book. Here he and I served [briefly] at the same time, and the discrepancy between our respective memories is all but limitless." However, Alcorn can be "interesting and informative" when he "writes of things he really knew about."

2. No Banners, No Bands: More Tales of the OSS. New York: David McKay, 1965.

3. Spies of the OSS. London: Robert Hale, 1973.

Beal, Richard B., Jr. "Sifting Through History's Records Brings the OSS Into the Daylight." Army, Jan. 1996, 14.

The focus here is on the OSS' intelligence gathering activities.

Bowman, Martin W. The Bedford Triangle: U.S. Undercover Operations from England in World War 2. Chatham, UK: Patrick Stevens, 1988. Botley, UK: Osprey, 1991. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 2003. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2009. [pb]

From publisher: The U.S. Army Air Force, OSS, and SOE "jointly played a crucial part in operations behind enemy lines in occupied Europe during World War II. Milton Ernest Hall, a country house in Bedfordshire and official UK headquarters of the U.S. Army Airforce Service Command, was located at the heart of a network of top secret Allied Radio and propaganda transmitting stations, political warfare units, and undercover American and British formations dealing in espionage and subterfuge."

To Knouse,, this book "has a number of glaring faults. For one thing, the chapters on Glenn Miller are entirely superfluous and speculative, not good history at all but more a bit of rumor-mongering than anything else."

Breaks, Katherine. "Ladies of the OSS: The Apron Strings of Intelligence in World War II." American Intelligence Journal 13, no. 3 (Summer 1992): 91-96.

Although this is a heavily edited (that is, shortened) version of the author's Senior Essay in the History Department, Yale University, it is an excellent introduction to the contribution made by women to the work of OSS. The author concludes: "The role of women in OSS was limited. OSS worked within the gender constraints of the period, hiring most women for gender-specific work and eschewing a leading role in promoting women with skills. But OSS was not regressive either, giving outstanding candidates meaningful work in Research and Analysis and Morale Operations. The work of the women in OSS was a mixed bag, not a treasure trove of opportunity but nevertheless provided one of the few ways women could play a direct role in World War II."

Breuer, William B. War and American Women: Heroism, Deeds, and Controversy. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997.

The focus of this work is not on women in intelligence, but rather concerns American women in military service. Nevertheless, Smith, WIR 16.1, notes that Breuer's "stories about women in the OSS and their adventures in France and Switzerland prior to D-Day ... are well told and exciting."

Brown, Anthony Cave, ed. The Secret War Report of the OSS. New York: Berkley, 1976. [pb]

According to Pforzheimer, this is an edited version of the full two-volume report. This version eliminates and rearranges some of the material; in particular, "the material on OSS in the Far East is not included in the [Brown] version." Constantinides finds that Brown's commentaries "add to the understanding of a number of events and identify a number of individuals involved." At the same time, there are "errors and controversial statements in these commentaries." See U.S. War Department, Strategic Services Unit, War Report..., prepared under the direction of Kermit Roosevelt in 1948 and declassified by the CIA in 1976.

Brown, Arthur O. "Les Jedburghs: Un coup de maître ou une occasion manquée" [The Jedburghs: A master stroke or a lost opportunity?]. Guerres Mondiales et Conflits Contemporains 174 (1994), 127-142.

Bull, Stephen, ed. The Secret Agent's Pocket Manual, 1939-1945. London: Conway, 2009.

From publisher: In World War II "clandestine warfare became a permanent part of the modern military and political scene.... [M]any of these hitherto secret techniques and pieces of equipment were put into print at the time and many examples are now becoming available. This manual brings together a selection of these dark arts and extraordinary objects and techniques in their original form, under one cover to build up an authentic picture of the Allied spy."

Chalou, George C., ed. The Secrets War: The Office of Strategic Services in World War II. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992. Second printing, 2002.

Surveillant 2.5 notes that this volume contains the proceedings of a 11-12 July 1991 conference at the National Archives; it includes 24 papers. Included are papers by Robin Winks, Barry Katz, Walt Rostow, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Helene Deschamps-Adams, Max Corso, Timothy Naftali, M.R.D. Foot, and William Colby.

Chambers, John Whiteclay, II.

1. OSS Training in the National Parks and Service Abroad in World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. National Park Service, 2008. []

Laurie, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), finds that this "is a much more comprehensive and detailed account of the OSS than the title implies. Indeed, it is one of the more extensive and well-researched histories to have appeared in several years.... [The] chapters on training are the strongest part of the study and a significant contribution to the existing scholarly literature.... [It] is highly recommended for general audiences.... Having the searchable manuscript online at the National Park Service Web site is an added bonus."

2. "Training for War and Espionage: Office of Strategic Services Training During World War II." Studies in Intelligence 54, no. 2 (Jun. 2010): 19-35.

Although the author's focus is the use of national parks as training grounds for the OSS, his discussion of OSS's training regime is much fuller than that alone. This article is, of course, only a portion of the broader history of OSS contain in his book done for the National Park Service (see above).

Charlesworth, Lorie, and Michael Salter. "Ensuring the After-Life of the Ciano Diaries: Allen Dulles' Provision of Nuremberg Trial Evidence." Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 4 (Aug. 2006): 568-603.

This is an interesting article about Dulles' efforts to retrieve a copy of the diaries of Count Ciano, Mussolini's foreign minister 1936-1943, from Ciano's wife and the use of the diaries at the Nuremberg trial of Hitler's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop. See also, Michael Salter, "Intelligence Agencies and War Crimes Prosecution: Allen Dulles's Involvement in Witness Testimony at Nuremberg," Journal of International Criminal Justice 2 (2004): 826-854; and Howard McGaw Smyth, "The Ciano Papers: Rose Garden," Studies in Intelligence 13.2 (Spring 1969): 1-63.

Clauseen, Martin P., ed. The OSS-NKVD Relationship, 1943-1945. Vol. 8 of Covert Warfare series. New York: Garland, 1989. 133 reprinted documents, including correspondence between W.J. Donovan and John R. Deane.

Cline, Ray S. "OSS: The History of an Idea." Manuscript from the National Archives, Military Projects Branch, 7 Sep. 1945.

Cryptologia. Editors. "OSS Cryptographic Plan." 13, no. 3 (Jul. 1989): 283-287.

Petersen: "1945 U.S. Army staff study obtained under FOIA."

Dear, Ian. Sabotage and Subversion: Stories from the Files of the SOE and OSS. London: Arms and Armour, 1996. Sabotage and Subversion: The SOE and OSS at War. Stroud: History Press, 2010 (reissue).

Shryock, IJI&C 12.2, notes that the book is more weighted toward SOE's activities than OSS' and more toward Europe than elsewhere. The book is only a "modest" success. Although the author "provides an abundance of stories of high adventure in hostile territory," the book suffers from organization problems. Basically, "[t]here is a confusing lack of causal and chronological order" within the book and within its individual chapters. Dear writes in a "rambling style," with "irrelevant detail" and "dull statistics."

Dunlop, Richard. "The Wartime OSS." American Legion Magazine 116, no. 6 (1984): 15. [Petersen]

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