So, you think you know the whole story about WWII? I thought I did! That was before I started reading books by Ben Macintyre: Agent Zigzag, Operation Mincemeat, and finally Double Cross. I strongly recommend all three.
Agent Zigzag follows one of the first double-triple-quadruple-crossing spies that MI5 recruited during WWII. Operation Mincemeat tells the more complete story of “The Man Who Never Was” and how a dead man affected the Germans’ view of where the Allies would first land in Europe (Sicily or Greece?).
Double Cross continues the history of British counterintelligence during WWII. German leaders thought they had an awesome spy network in England. Turned out, the opposite was the case. According Ben MacIntyre, EVERY spy (over 100) that Germany sent to England was captured and then executed, imprisoned, or turned into a double agent by MI5. This book focuses on a handful of men and women who worked for Britain while being paid large sums of money by the Germans. They were a United Nations of backgrounds and life experiences. Ian Fleming and John Masterman, writers of spy and mystery novels, were involved on MI5’s side.
MI5 asked the spies to make their German handlers believe that the invasion of Europe would take place primarily at Dieppe and secondarily in Norway and Bordeaux. The purpose was to force the Germans to keep troops out of Normandy. They were extremely successful. They risked their lives by traveling back and forth to Spain and Portugal to meet with their Nazi handlers in person. Not only were they believed but, in large part, they convinced the Germans to fund all of their activities, at a profit for MI5.
The author adds an interesting chapter telling what happened to the agents and their handlers after the war.
GO! BUY! READ!
–Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
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