Compiled from interviews, diaries, letters and contemporaneous first-person accounts - many unpublished until now - this oral history follows the adventures of the courageous men and women who volunteered for service with Britain's Special Operations Executive and the United States' Office of Strategic Services. They parachuted behind enemy lines, often alone, with orders to cause mayhem. Arrest almost always resulted in torture and imprisonment; sometimes in execution. Trained in the black arts of warfare - sabotage, subversion, espionage, guerrilla tactics and undermining enemy morale by the distribution of insidious propaganda - theirs' was a war fought in the shadows. Their activities extended to every theatre of operations: in occupied France, equipped with false identities, they played a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Gestapo; in the Balkans they discovered that the fiery politics of the region were as dangerous as the enemy; in the Burmese jungle, in some of the worst combat conditions of the war, they led native marauders in surprise attacks against the Japanese. From Britain they were supported by a team of back-room boffins who produced expertly forged documents and dreamed up ingenious devices like exploding rats and invisible ink. The special agents of World War II really were a breed apart. This is their extraordinary story, in their own words.