Jennet Conant – The Irregulars


Prior to the U.S. entering WWII, a small coterie of British spies in Washington, D.C., was formed. They called themselves the Baker Street Irregulars after the band of street urchins who were the eyes and ears of Sherlock Holmes in some Arthur Conan Doyle stories. This group constituted the very beginning of what would become M16, the British version of the CIA, and they helped support the fledgling American intelligence service, known at the time as the OSS.

Among them were writers Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and the flamboyant Canadian industrialist turned professional saboteur William Stephenson, known by the code name “Intrepid”, upon whom Fleming would later base his fictional M16 agent James Bond. Richly detailed and carefully researched, Conant’s narrative uses never-before-seen wartime letters, diaries and interviews to create a fascinating, lively account of deceit, double dealing and moral ambiguity – all in the name of victory.

Author: Jennet Conant
Narrator: Simon Prebble
Duration: 11 hours 36 minutes
Released: 8 Sep 2009
Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
Language: English

User Review:

warmth smoking

This piece definitely gave me the most intimate and realistic feel for WWII espionage. Far from the Hollywood version, but a believable and honest vision of Britain’s desparate efforts for American support in their fight against Hitler.

The narration is superb. One of the best I have heard since listening to “Portrait of a Lady”. Simon Pebble is brilliant in conveying that wonderful caustic but satirical sense of humour that so British. A great listen.