Hornet's Sting

Hornet's Sting

The Amazing Untold Story of World War II Spy Thomas Sneum

Book - 2009
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Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with Sneum, Mark Ryan describes how Tommy made an incredible escape from Denmark in a battered old Hornet Moth aircraft - which he had to refuel in mid-air by climbing out on the wing. Later, he escaped from Denmark again - by walking across a treacherous frozen sea on which two of his companions died. Tommy brought over precious intelligence about the Nazi radar installations in Denmark and their atom bomb - his reward was to be imprisoned in Brixton as a suspected double agent and threatened with execution.

He cheated the hangman - but it is only with the publication of this enthralling book that Sneum can be celebrated as, in the words of Professor R.V. Jones, Churchill's chief of scientific intelligence, 'one of the true heroes of World War II'.
Publisher: New York : Skyhorse Pub., c2009.
ISBN: 9781602397101
Branch Call Number: 940.5348 SNEUM T
Characteristics: xi, 386 pages, [8] pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm.


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Feb 25, 2015

I am of two minds on this book. On the one hand, it's a very interesting and hard-to-put down tale of one man's adventures as an unlikely spy during the last couple of years of World War II. On the other, the man is so obviously in love with himself, so selfish, stupid, ignorant, morally-deluded, who believes every woman wants to have him and how they can't get enough, as he fancies himself as the nec-le-plus-ultra when it comes to lovemaking, and who feels he almost single-handedly saved England from the Nazis, that you can't help but want to kick the guy in the b***s. His flagrant chauvinism, both in the only thing he sees women for (bed) and his annoyance and anger when one recognizes the work they did, does not make for a good read. That the guy was still alive and being interviewed for this book is both a curse and a mild blessing. The author, an obvious hack, who excuses anything the guy did as "these were times of war" does not help. The book is readable, as long as Sneum does not "reminisce". Then it turns to the content of his underwear, how women couldn't get enough, how he basically could have ended the war if allowed to do as he pleased, how no one else but himself did anything of value in their spy work and how most of the people recognize for their services after the war were not worthy of it, while he was and was never awarded the recognition his huge ego demanded... If you read between the lines, he was just someone who managed to get lucky with one of two early-on successes, then had the nasty habit of taking credit for other people's work, and if he couldn't, to downplay or criticize their achievements. The man is a supreme moron and that makes his story all the harder to believe, after you are done with the book. It does not help that almost no one else he worked with survived the war, so we are left to believe he did everything by himself. This was a long read for me, although it's a subject I love, because I could not take more than 20 or so pages at a time, the guy pi**ed me off too much...


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