DIEPPE DECODED by David O'Keefe
"Now I can die in peace; now I know what my friends died for…" -Private Ron Beal, Dieppe Veteran in conversation with historian Professor David O'Keefe
TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - The forthcoming book Dieppe Decoded, by acclaimed Montreal historian David O'Keefe, will provide the stunning story behind one of the Second World War's most enduring mysteries—and one of Canada's most sorrowful moments.
Louise Dennys, Executive Publisher of the Knopf Random House Canada Publishing Group, who acquired the book from Rick Broadhead of Rick Broadhead & Associates literary agency in a pre-emptive negotiation, notes: "I'm really proud and thrilled that Random House Canada will make David O'Keefe's book available to Canadians next fall. Dieppe Decoded will fundamentally change our understanding of this pivotal chapter in Canadian history and help bring closure to one of the most tragic events in our recent past."
For decades, the reason for the Dieppe Raid—the darkest day in Canadian military history—has been one of the most perplexing mysteries of the Second World War. In less than six hours on August 19, 1942, nearly 1,000 Canadians—as well as British and American soldiers—lay dead or dying on the beaches around the French channel port, with over 2,000 other Canadians wounded or captured by German forces. These catastrophic losses—for Canada above all—coupled with the mystery surrounding the reasons for the operation itself, left a legacy of bitterness, recrimination, and controversy for seventy years. In the absence of concrete reasons for the raid, a myriad of theories ranging from incompetence to conspiracy developed.
David O'Keefe's remarkable research, just released and based on recently declassified files that he unearthed over 15 years of painstaking research in 5 countries, finally and authoritatively reveals the reasons behind the raid: a highly secret mission by Canadian assault troops, organized by British Naval Intelligence in connection with the Joint Intelligence Committee, and Mountbatten's Combined Operations Headquarters, to steal and capture essential German code and cipher books and the infamous Enigma machine on which so much of the course of the war depended. Professor O'Keefe's book will bring into sharp focus the role of Commander Ian Fleming, later the creator of the James Bond books, behind the raid. This groundbreaking discovery importantly recasts our views both of the Dieppe operation and those responsible for its planning and conduct such as Admiral John Godfrey, Lord Louis Mountbatten and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The astonishing story behind the most costly, controversial Allied raid of the Second World War changes everything we thought we knew about Dieppe and will force a rewrite of history books. Dieppe Decoded will be much talked about everywhere; but most especially here in Canada.
David O'Keefe, in conjunction with Maclean's, broke the story last Thursday August 9th. On Sunday, August 19, History Television in Canada, and Yesterday TV in Great Britain, will simultaneously premiere a ninety-minute documentary (to be pre-screened on August 18 for veterans invited to Dieppe by the Canadian government) for which O'Keefe acted as co-creator, co-writer, associate producer, and historian. The documentary, however, is just the tip of the historical iceberg; O'Keefe's journey through 100,000 pages of primary source archival material will provide a detailed, multi-layered and indeed thrilling story that will be fulfilled in book form in Dieppe Decoded in Fall 2013.
About David O'Keefe: David R. O'Keefe is an award-winning historian, documentarian and professor at prestigious Marianopolis College in Westmount, Quebec. O'Keefe served with the Royal Highland Regiment (The Black Watch of Canada) in Montreal, and worked as a Signals Intelligence specialist for the Directorate of History and Heritage (DND) that produced the Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War. His publications include influential articles in Canadian Defence Quarterly, the Journal of Canadian Military History, and the Canadian Army Journal, to name but a few. He has served as a historian for History Television in Canada, appeared on CBC Radio, Global Television, UKTV Network in Great Britain, and has numerous television documentaries and publications to his credit.
First peer responses
"Mr. O'Keefe has shown once again that he is not only one of the most indefatigable historical researchers, but also is one who can produce remarkable, even astonishing results. There are very few historians in the world who can say they have gotten the British Code Breaking Centre, Bletchley Park, to release what they have previously stoutly refused to yield. O'Keefe has brought forward new evidence of the greatest importance in the debate about whether the Dieppe Raid was a renegade operation or was duly authorized under British Government standards. It is a debate of great importance to the history of Canada's contributions during the Second World War." —Brian Loring Villa, author of Unauthorized Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid
"O'Keefe has definitely made the biggest breakthrough of the last twenty years in our understanding of the raid, and—thanks to his archival achievements—we can now start seeing whence most of the remaining mysteries about the raid sprang. His work is the keystone which will hold more firmly together the previously shaky edifice of historical understanding of the raid. His principal research achievement is to have kept digging in the British archives with such persistence that the keepers of the British code-breaking secrets conceded that there was no point holding back the remaining records linking Bletchley Park, Ian Fleming and the Dieppe raid." —Peter Henshaw, Dieppe scholar and intelligence analyst, Privy Council Office
"In the same way that intelligence in the Second World War had to be based on multiple sources rather than a single thunderclap moment or dramatic source, David has built this case through a whole series of small pieces of evidence… [He] has certainly changed our view of Dieppe into the future; he has added a new dimension that we really weren't aware of before." —Stephen Prince, Head, Naval Historical Branch, Royal Navy
SOURCE: Random House of Canada Limited
For further information:
Tracey Turriff at 416-957-1568 or [email protected]