A Most Enigmatic War

R.V. Jones and the Genesis of British Scientific Intelligence 1939-45

James Goodchild

Reassesses WWII scientific intelligence through a meticulous critique of the wartime papers and memoirs of its key protagonist, R.V. Jones.
Publication date:
December 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
23 ills/photos, 13 diags, 3 tables
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781911512554

Dimensions : 234 X 156 mm
This book is available


• This unique book reassesses the Second World War origins of conceptual ‘Scientific and Technical Intelligence (STI), and importantly contextualises the foundations of STI into the wider structures of twentieth century science and intelligence organisation
• 'A Most Secret War' would naturally be placed alongside Jones's war memoirs as an objective critical complement (and anathema) to Jones's subjective recollections
• As the primary themes are radar, technological intelligence processes, and science and technology applied to war - especially the key themes of air war, bomber offensive, V-Weapons, and research establishments), scientific advice to politics, technological intelligence (especially Enigma, Bletchley Park, Y-Service, and photographic reconnaissance and interpretation), as well as secret agent intelligence - the book will appeal to historians and general readers of the Second World War, military history, intelligence history (including the spy genre), and the history of science and technology

The history of scientific intelligence - its birth, its importance during the Second World War and its unique wartime qualities - has relied almost entirely on the memories of its pioneer, R.V. Jones. Through scrutiny of Jones' post-war literature (especially his war memoirs, entitled Most Secret War; his archival papers - as well as those of his colleagues and contemporaries - and other mediums he used to promote his account of scientific intelligence), this ground-breaking book constitutes a critique of the genesis of scientific and technical intelligence. Examining chronologically all of the key events Jones became famous for - the Battle of the Beams, the Bruneval Raid, the Radio War, the Battle of the V-Weapons - and comparing Jones' account of these (and many other) events with contemporary documentation, this book provides a rich understanding of the internal machinations within the British wartime air scientific intelligence organisation defined as ADI (Science) and their relationships with the many other political, military and intelligence sections that pursued similar and often closely-linked quests. This book importantly connects science and technology with the collection and collation of intelligence; is an analysis of wartime intelligence of a scientific and technical nature; argues that scientific intelligence was much more than one man's accomplishments, which involved many more individuals and organisations than has been perceived; and was much more crucial to the development of 20th century history than has been portrayed.


Featured in Military History Monthly's roundup of the latest military history titles.
Military History Monthly

Shining a light on a hitherto neglected area of the Second World War, that of the role of Scientific Intelligence, it is a substantial contribution to the history of that period. As such, it comes highly recommend.
Army Rumour Service

This book is not just recommended for those with an interest in the secret intelligence and scientific war. It is essential…James Goodchild has certainly produced a definitive work which is also a masterpiece." - Winner of the Britain at War Book of the Month Award for June 2018.
Britain at War Magazine