One Day in August

One Day in August

The Untold Story Behind Canada's Tragedy in Dieppe

Book - 2013
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Magnificent and engrossing, One Day in August reveals in full for the first time the "Ultra Secret" story behind one of WW2's most controversial mysteries--and one of Canada's most sorrowful moments. 
In a narrative as powerful and moving as it is authoritative,  David O'Keefe rewrites history, connecting Canada's tragedy at Dieppe with an extraordinary and colourful cast of characters--from the young Commander Ian Fleming, later to become the creator of the James Bond novels, and his team of crack commandos to the code-breaking scientists of Bletchley Park (the closely guarded heart of Britain's wartime Intelligence and code-breaking work) to those responsible for the planning and conduct of the Dieppe Raid--Admiral John Godfrey, Lord Louis Mountbatten, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and others. The astonishing story critically changes what we thought we knew.
For seven decades, the objective for the raid has been one of the most perplexing mysteries of WWII. In less than six hours on August 19, 1942, nearly one thousand Canadians--as well as British and Americans--lay dead or dying on the beaches around the French seaside town, with over two thousand other Canadians wounded or captured. These awful losses have left a legacy of bitterness, recrimination and controversy. In the absence of concrete reasons for the raid, myriad theories ranging from incompetence to conspiracy developed.
Over almost two decades of research, sifting through countless recently declassified Intelligence documents, David O'Keefe skillfully pieces together the story like a jigsaw puzzle to reveal the prime reason behind the raid: a highly secret mission designed, in one of Britain's darkest times, to redress the balance of the war. One Day in August provides a thrilling, multi-layered story that fundamentally changes our understanding of this most tragic and pivotal chapter in Canada's history.

Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2013.
ISBN: 9780345807694
Characteristics: 471 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Dec 31, 2016

very complete

patcumming Apr 10, 2015

If you saw The Imitation Game, this book will fascinate. It's a bit heavy going at times but sheds light on one of the most disastrous events of WWII.

Dec 27, 2014

Detailed description of a sad day in Canadian history. The story behind the day, its purpose and some explanations for the final result help us to understand the mess. Let's face it - War is messy, but there is no need for stupidity. And stupidity was clouding some people's minds back then.
O'Keefe does holds the reader's interest by tossing in interesting tidbits about Ian Fleming, Lord Mountbatten, Winston Churchill and other key players of the day.

bibliotechnocrat Oct 25, 2014

"This was too big for a raid and too small for invasion: What were you trying to do?" So opens Okeefe's first chapter, quoting a German interrogator questioning a captured Allied Major. This question has long been a puzzle, and the conventional answers about testing Nazi coastal defences as a precursor to D-Day has never made sense. After all, pretty good intelligence was already available - there was no need to sacrifice 907 lives, with almost 3,000 more wounded or taken captive in order to demonstrate that the Nazis intended to stay in France.

This well-researched book finally provides a rationale for the Dieppe fiasco, namely the pressing need to capture cypher materials necessary to win the battle of the Atlantic. However, this reason is far from satisfactory. Raids are typically small and nimble allowing for rapid action and retreat; Dieppe by contrast involved thousands of men, multiple branches of the military, multiple national forces, and relied on an absurdly optimistic degree of luck.

Okeefe's carefully constructed analysis shows the arrogance and Machiavellian willingness to sacrifice the lives of others demonstrated by Fleming, Mountbatten, and the secret service generally. It's a warning from history; Canada must beware of participating in military action directed by others.

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