A quick bibliographic note

Now that we live close to my wife’s office, on days when I’m working from home (which is just Fridays at the moment) I can go over there to join her for lunch. It’s a really nice break in the day, and great to see her. On my way home today, I passed a guy putting a box of free books out in front of his house. I grabbed these:


I’m particularly interested in the top one, which seems to be about why exactly Nazi Germany failed to notice that the Allies had cracked their codes in WWII. I wonder if they’ll also address why the Germans failed to notice that both the British and the Soviets had been running rings around their human intelligence.

A lot of people, both among my students and in the general public, seem to have this idea that dictatorships or totalitarian states are “more efficient.” Like, sadly they’re evil, but at least they get things done. This is … not necessarily the case. Despite an outward show of being all spit and polish, Nazi Germany was a baroque mess of rival power blocs, competing agencies, outright lunatics nobody dared to contradict, bunglers promoted for their loyalty and important decisions made based on cool factor. It was just much less open about that fact than some other countries, mainly because it was much less open about everything.

But don’t let meticulously-ironed uniforms and some cool tanks fool you; people always portray the bad guys as ruthless machines, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a pack of boneheads.

A quick bibliographic note

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