Book Review - Camp 020 by Col Robin Stephens, editted by Oliver Hoare
|Camp 020: MI5 and the Nazi Spies|
Camp 020: MI5 and the Nazi Spies, Lt Col. R.W.G. Stephens, introduced and edited by Oliver Hoare, Public Record Office, 2000.
This book might not be what you would expect, in that it is not a "book" per se. In the 1990s, MI5 declassified a document entitled A Digest of Ham written by Lt. Col. R.W.G. Stephens, the former commandant of Ham (a.k.a. Camp 020). The document forms the core of this book, prefaced by an introduction to World War II espionage and the Double Cross system by Oliver Hoare. While the introduction is quite readable, the document by Stephens is sometimes a challenge, particularly the section on case histories. After a while, all of the case histories begin to sound the same. Part of the challenge is Stephens' unique writing style. Stephens was known as a ferocious, xenophobic interrogator with a flair for the dramatic. His comments about Camp 020 inmates are liberally peppered with exaggerations and prejudices. Stephens wrote the document after World War II and apparently had access to the summary sheets of the inmates, along with his own memory.
|Lt Col. Robin W.G. Stephens|
Commandant of WWII Camp 020
Keeping in mind Stephens' predilections for dramatic flair, one does get a slightly different perspective on the case of Josef Jakobs. Stephens, who was disgusted by the craven cowardice of so many of the spies, was impressed with the courage and bravery of Jakobs.
3.5 out of 5 - The piece on Jakobs is relatively accurate and makes for an interesting read.