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Target: Italy

Roderick Bailey

The unknown story of the cloak-and-dagger war fought by British secret agents against Mussolini’s Italy in the Second World War.

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The cloak-and-dagger war fought by British secret agents against Mussolini’s Italy has been little known – until now.

Target: Italy is the official history of the efforts of Britain’s Special Operations Executive to strike at Fascist Italy in the Second World War and sever its alliance with Nazi Germany. Drawing on declassified documents, it reveals missions as remarkable as a plot to assassinate Mussolini and plans to arm the Mafia, and brings home the risks that secret agencies run when trying to undermine well-entrenched regimes.

A powerful tale of desperate daring, tragic sacrifice and long-held wartime secrets.

Critic Reviews

An inspiring study about the courage of undercover wartime operatives... The great skill of this book is to demonstrate that war is both brutal and dizzyingly unpredictable ... Bailey not only pays tribute to determined and brave people, but unravels a web of conflict in a beautiful land.

Sinclair McKay, Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

Roderick Bailey has written gripping history of Britain's undercover role in fomenting anti-Fascist activity in wartime Italy.

Critic Reviews

Roderick Bailey is a fluent writer, with a fine eye for personalities, and this book is, apart from its solid professional virtues, a very good read. The nightmarish and brutal world of underground work against Fascism in Italy is well covered... Drama is ever present. As in Eric Ambler novels, suitcases full of explosives were hidden in crummy hotels, and secret assignations made on trains. It was a world far from the Geneva conventions ... A great strength of the book is the use of oral interviews and Italian archival material, in contrast to earlier SOE histories which depend mostly on British documents.

Critic Reviews

Roderick Bailey is a fine historian who has researched his subject and given his tale a strong narrative drive.

David Gimour, Spectator
Critic Reviews

Readable and authoritative . . . vividly described . . . The role of British intelligence agenices in the Second World War is now better understood.

Christopher Andrew, Literary Review
Critic Reviews

Drawing on long-classified documents . . . a readable, fast-paced narrative.

Ian Martin, Observer

Roderick Bailey is a historian of resistance and clandestine warfare. His first book, The Wildest Province, based on his PhD, was an acclaimed account of SOE exploits in the Axis-occupied Balkans. Currently a research fellow at Oxford University, he is a graduate of Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities and former Alistair Horne Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford. He has also…

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