Each entry has a highlighted link to Amazon or another relevant web page. Many books are long out of print and some are now pretty rare, so I've noted other available editions and reprints. Recommended titles have been given a rosette
Approach March: A Venture in Autobiography by Julian Amery (Hutchison, 1973). Amery's autobiography covers his time working with Section D in Belgrade and his part in the 'Concensus II' mission to Albania in 1944.
Secret War Heroes: The Men of Special Operations Executive by Marcus Binney (Hodder and Stoughton, 2005). Short biographies of Gus March-Phillipps (leader of Maid Honor Force), combat training expert Bill Sykes, agents Georges Bégué, Percy Mayer, Denis Rake, Harry Rée and Benjamin Cowburn, and the author's father George Binney.
The Jungle Is Neutral by Freddie Spencer Chapman (Lyons Press, 2003). Extraordinary story of survival behind Japanese lines in Malaya. First published by Chatto & Windus in 1949. See also Jungle Soldier by Brian Moynahan.
Of Their Own Choice by Peter Churchill (Hodder and Stoughton, 1952). Written in the third person, this is the first of three volumes of Churchill's memoirs.
Duel of Wits by Peter Churchill (Hodder and Stoughton, 1953).
They Arrived by Moonlight by Captain Jacques Doneux (St Ermin's Press, 2001). A wireless operator for T Section from 1943, Doneux's autobiography describes the strain and the boredom of working undercover in Brussels for five months, followed by an equally difficult return to London via Paris and the Pyrenees. First published by Odhams Press in 1956.
War Diary by Hugh Dormer (Fisher Press, 1994). First published by Jonathan Cape in 1947.
Inside North Pole: A secret agent's story by Pieter Dourlein (Kimber, 1953). One of two Dutch agents to survive the Englandspiel, Dourlein and his compatriot Ubbink escaped to England to reveal the truth of SOE's disaster only to face accusations of being German double agents. Considering his ordeals, Dourlein's memoir is modest and forgiving.
My Secret Mission by Andrew Durovecz (Lugus, 1996). Durovecz was a member of the the ill-fated Operation Windproof team, dropped into Slovakia in 1944. Paperback only, and quite rare.
Vasili: The Lion of Crete by Murray Elliott (Efstathiadis Group, 1992). Life of New Zealander Dudley Churchill Perkins, who was taken prisoner but escaped to join SOE's Force 133 and fought with guerillas on Crete.
Conversations with a Captor by Jean Overton Fuller (Fuller D'Arch Smith, 1973). A prose poem written long after the author's interviews in the 1950s with Ernst Vogt, the SS translator who had interrogated her friend Noor Inayat Khan and many other captured SOE agents at Avenue Foch, and with whom Fuller had developed a close relationship. An oddity.
Déricourt: The Chequered Spy by Jean Overton Fuller (Michael Russell Publishing, 1989). Author's examination of double agent Henri Déricourt, developing material from her previous works.
Double Webs by Jean Overton Fuller (Putnam, 1958). The first of the Overton Fuller's investigations into Déricourt's dealings with German security services. Revised and republished as Double Agent? by Pan Books in 1961.
Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan by Jean Overton Fuller (East-West Publications, 1988). An extended and updated version of the author's original biography of Noor Inayat Khan, Madeleine, published by Victor Gollancz in 1952.
The Starr Affair by Jean Overton Fuller (Victor Gollancz, 1954). Supportive account of F Section agent John Starr's conduct as a prisoner of the Sicherheitsdienst at Avenue Foch, based on Starr's own testimony. Published in the US by Little, Brown under the title No. 13, Bob.
Jungle Diary by Duncan Guthrie (Macmillan, 1946). After serving as a Jedburgh in France, Guthrie joined Force 136 and was injured when dropping into Burma in March 1945. He kept a diary while in hiding, and was rescued three months later.
SOE Assignment by Donald Hamilton-Hall (Kimber, 1973). Hamilton-Hall helped to set up the Auxiliary Units before joining SOE, where he worked with the training section and later supported operations in Italy and Greece.
Xavier by Richard Heslop (Biteback, June 2014). A paperback reprint (first edition was published by Hart-Davis in 1970). Honest and typical memoir by one of F Section's defining and most successful organisers.
That Drug Danger by Sir James Hutchison (Montrose Press, 1977). Covers Hutchison’s time as head of SOE's gaullist RF Section, and his inter-Allied mission into France after having undergone plastic surgery.
The Thorns of Memory by Peter Kemp (Sinclair-Stevenson, 1990). Covers the author's adventures in the Spanish Civil War, SOE missions to Romania, Poland and the Far East, and his post-war career as a journalist.
Knights Of The Floating Silk by George Langelaan (Hutchinson, 1959). Autobiography by a former New York Times journalist and one of the first SOE agents to arrive in France. He was captured but escaped from prison and into Spain in 1942. Now better remembered for his post-war short story 'The Fly'.
From Cloak to Dagger: Special Operations Executive Agent in Italy, 1943-45 by Charles Macintosh (William Kimber, 1982). Macintosh was operations officer with No.1 Special Force in Italy and supported the partisans in the battle for Florence in August 1944. The remainder of the book follows the progress of later tactical missions and concentrates on operational detail.
Eastern Approaches by Fitzroy Maclean (Penguin, 2009). First published by Jonathan Cape in 1949.
Christine: SOE Agent and Churchill's Favourite Spyby Madeleine Masson (Virago, 2005). Life of agent Christine Granville (born Krystyna Skarbek), a Polish countess whose intrepid wartime career included working for Francis Cammaerts' 'Jockey' circuit. First published by Hamish Hamilton in 1975.
Maquis: The French Resistance at Warby George Millar (Dovecote Press, 2013). Published only a few months after completing his mission as head of the 'Chancellor' circuit around Besançon, Millar's novel-like memoir is as much an intimate study of the resisters he worked with as a record of his own actions. First published by Heinemann in 1945.
Report on Experience by John Mulgan (Frontline, 2009). Reprint, introduced by M.R.D. Foot. Mulgan's New Zealand roots bring an strong sense of objectivity and detachment to his writing, especially in his views of British civilian and military life before and during the war. His record of serving with SOE in Greece is mostly anecdotal, but no less interesting for that. Originally published by OUP in 1947.
Black Lysander by John Nesbitt-Dufort (Whydown Books, 2003). Autobiography by one of the early Special Duties pilots, who successfully flew the first pick-up operation in and out of Occupied France in 1941. First published by Jarrolds in 1973.
Aristide: Warlord of the Resistance by David Nicolson (Leo Cooper, 1994). Life of F Section agent Roger Landes, who organised the 'Scientist' and 'Actor' circuits in Bordeaux.
Four in the Shadows: A True Story of Espionage in Occupied France by Eric Piquet-Wicks (Jarrolds, 1957). Dramatised accounts of four major resistance figures: Jean Moulin, Pierre Brossolette, Henri Labit and Fred Scamaroni. Piquet-Wicks was the first head of RF Section and he gives some brief autobiographical notes in the prologue.
The Giraffe Has a Long Neck by Jacques Poirier (Pen and Sword, 1995). Poirier's autobiography covers his childhood and early resistance involvement with Harry Peulevé to becoming the organiser of his own 'Digger' circuit and liberator of the Corrèze in 1944.
Operation Autonomous: With SOE in Wartime Roumania by Ivor Porter (Chatto & Windus, 1989). Mainly political history by the wireless operator of the Autonomous mission that parachuted into Romania in December 1943. Porter and his two companions were captured immediately but released after the overthrow of dictator Antonescu the following year.
The Cretan Runner by George Psychoundakis (Penguin, 2009). First published by John Murray in 1955.
Tales from the Special Forces Club by Sean Rayment (William Collins, February 2014). Tale-tellers include Jedburghs Harry Verlander and John Sharp, Beaulieu staff member Noreen Riols and Special Duties pilot Leonard Ratcliff. Hardback published in 2013.
Blown by Jamie Reid (Racing Post Books, September 2015). Life of racehorse trainer and SOE agent John Goldsmith, who undertook three missions to Occupied France.
Child Of My Love by Sue Ryder (Harvill Press, 1997). Autobiography of the charity worker who was inspired by the bravery of the SOE agents she met before they left for Occupied Europe. First published in 1986, and partly based on And the Morrow is Theirs: The Autobiography of Sue Ryder published by Burleigh Press in 1975.
War Journey by Cynthia Sadler (Artemis, 2003). Life of F Section agent Lilian Rolfe.
Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary by Hannah Senesh (Jewish Lights, 2008). Senesh parachuted into Yugoslavia in March 1944 and was executed in Budapest eight months later, having been arrested at the Hungarian border. Aside from her diary, the book also contains her letters and poems along with contributions from her mother and fellow SOE agents.
A Spy Has No Friends by Ronald Seth (Headline Review, 2008). Seth's intriguing account of capture in Estonia and his efforts to survive by posing as a double agent for German Intelligence, which contradicts the report he gave to MI5 on his return to England. First published by Andre Deutsch in 1952. Seth subsequently wrote many books on spies, travel, the Occult, and ‐ under the name of Robert Chartham ‐ sex education.
Albanian Assignmentby David Smiley (Chatto & Windus, 1984). A fairly brief and modest account of the author's experiences with Billy McLean and Julian Amery in Albania, which includes some criticism of SOE's political decisions. He also gives some details of post-war training of Albanian insurgents in Malta.
Report from No. 24 by Gunnar Sonsteby (Barricade Books, 2005). Memoir by one of Norway's most celebrated and decorated Norwegian agents. First published by Lyle Stewart in 1965.
Baker Street Irregular by Bickham Sweet-Escott (Methuen, 1965). Important memoir by an SOE staff officer who served SOE in many roles, in London, Cairo, Washington and the Far East. Now rare, and deserves a reprint.
Young, Brave and Beautiful by Tania Szabo (History Press, July 2015). Tania Szabo's biography of her mother, Violette Szabo. First published in 2007.
Moondrop to Gascony by Anne-Marie Walters (Moho Books, 2009). Walters parachuted into south-western France in January 1944 as a courier for George Starr's 'Wheelwright' circuit. First published by Macmillan in 1946 and won the John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1947.
Pinstripe saboteurby Charles Wighton (Odhams Press, 1959). Charles Wighton was the pen name of Jacques Weil, who worked with F Section's 'Robin' circuit. This biography of his former boss, Jean Worms, is mixed up with Weil's own story, resulting in an often fictional mess. Foreword by Peter Churchill.
Foreign Fields: The Story of an SOE Operative by Peter Wilkinson (I B Tauris, 2002). Autobiography by one of SOE's founding members, who served as a staff officer in Crete and North Africa, and dropped into Yugoslavia as part of Operation Clowder in 1943. A lot of detail taken from Wilkinson's wartime diaries. First published in 1997.
Gubbins and SOE by Peter Wilkinson and Joan Bright Astley (Pen and Sword, 2010). A very well-informed and regarded biography of SOE head Colin Gubbins, which crams in a lot of detailed SOE history. First published in 1993.
Pierre Lalande: Special Agent by Guido Zembsch-Schreve (Leo Cooper, 1996). Swiss-born DF Section agent who ran the 'Pierre-Jacques' escape line and survived Buchenwald and the infamous V-2 factory at Dora.