On an ordinary day in May 1941, a boy from a village in Crete faces an unexpected threat the invasion of German troops. He runs for cover his first escape in a series of encounters with destiny. The boy and his brother work for the SOE, an underground branch of the English Intelligence Service. When the resistance movement is uncovered, they escape through the mountains of Crete, hiding from the enemy in broad daylight. In Egypt, the boy joins the American Army and trains to be a spy for the OSS (the Office of Strategic Services), the SOEs newly formed American intelligence counterpart. Sent back to Salonica, Greece, the boy continually risks his life, operating a wireless radio in plain view. Will the German police ever discover his wireless, in a factory once owned by Greek Jews? If captured, the boy resolves to take a poison capsule that will end his young life, rather than endure torture. Often, he finds himself seconds away from death. Imagine the Victory of living to tell the tale at age 91, and his metamorphosis from boy to man, man to soldier, and soldier to spy.
The authors story was featured in the documentary Camp X: Secret Agent School on History Channel in Canada, and the Smithsonian Channels, World War II Spy School.
An unvarnished, understated tale, full of youthful mistakes and narrow escapes, the book is written in a straightforward, conversational style.
"You only live twice, once when you are born and once when you look death in the face, Japanese poet Matsuo Basho wrote more than 300 years ago. Doundoulakis skillfully conveys that sense of being fully alive, as he transmitted an amazing 400 clandestine radio signals as an OSS spy. This is a tale you are not likely to find elsewhere, one that rings with authenticity.
Helias Doundoulakis, now in his nineties, shares the story of his time in the shadowy world of espionage in Trained to be an OSS Spy ... It's a story they're not likely to find anywhere else.
Foreword Clarion Review
The author's memoir perfectly encapsulates the mixed feelings of his younger self; he was only 20 when sent to the city of Salonica, an event that was both exhilarating and terrifying. His flight from Greece, where he and others hid in caves, is an intense episode, as is his secret passage back into the country. ... Treads familiar territory ... but readers new to his work will enjoy the exciting life he's chosen to share.
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