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Double Cross by Ben Macintyre
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Double Cross (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Ben Macintyre

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309None35,987 (3.75)30
Member:Carolinejyoung
Title:Double Cross
Authors:Ben Macintyre
Info:Bloomsbury UK (2012), Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
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Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre (2012)

2012 (2) 2013 (4) ARC (3) biography (4) D-Day (17) double agent (2) ebook (7) England (5) espionage (40) Europe (5) European History (2) Germany (5) Great Britain (3) history (57) intelligence (2) Kindle (5) military (13) military history (9) Nazi Germany (3) Nazis (5) non-fiction (48) Poland (2) read (3) read in 2012 (3) spy (18) to-read (10) unread (2) US History (3) war (2) WWII (79)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
  bostonbibliophile | Sep 6, 2013 |
A thoroughly excellent tale of the D-Day spies. They may have started out working for the Germans but ended up working for the British. They sent deceptive information to the Germans to make them believe the D-Day invasion, the main thrust, was Calais and that Normandy was a diversion. ( )
  reader68 | Aug 9, 2013 |
A Serbian playboy, a melodramatic Pole, a bisexual Peruvian heiress to a guano fortune that was still insufficient to keep up with her gambling habit, a failed Spanish chicken farmer and a Frenchwoman of Russian heritage who would place her little white dog, Babs, above any other loyalty. What is this, an espionage team or a cast list for a Monty Python sketch? Ben MacIntyre does it again; unearths the story of a highly improbable, but true, high-stakes World War II espionage caper, carried out by a team of supremely eccentric characters.

These five agents were the key players in Britain's Operation Double Cross. By March, 1943, Britain had captured 126 spies and had turned several into double agents. Some other German agents volunteered themselves to work for Britain. At first, the British used the double agents to give the Germans "chicken feed," but once British intelligence became convinced that they controlled every German spy in the country, they decided the network could be used to mislead the Germans on a large scale and affect the outcome of the war.

The plan was to use the Double Cross agents as part of a massive and elaborate plan to persuade the Germans that the D-Day invasion would take place, not at Normandy, but at Pas de Calais and via Norway. The espionage operation was carried out over many months, and involved all kinds of fakery to persuade Germany that vast armies were massing at the best spots in England and Scotland to invade at the false invasion points. The Double Cross agents passed on thousands of messages to advance this fakery, and other tidbits of false intelligence to further the plot.

The Germans wholeheartedly believed in "their" agents, showering them with fulsome praise, money, and even an Iron Cross in one case. It seems that though the Germans had a good deal of success capturing spies and resistance operatives in occupied territories, they were terrible at spotting double agents. I had to wonder if it had something to do with key differences in their culture and national psyche versus those of the British.

British intelligence reveled in the gamesmanship and double-dealing required for Double Cross. The war was, of course, deadly serious, but the British intelligence services almost gleefully embraced the most elaborate and absurd trickery in pursuit of its strategic goals. They hatched wild ploys, like breaking up Germany's homing pigeon communication network by infiltrating it with British pigeons, and spending weeks training an actor to impersonate the colorful Field Marshall Montgomery and appear in Gibraltar as the D-Day invasion approached, so that the Germans would be lulled into complacency.

The British intelligence services were filled with old school chums who played cricket at Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, and enjoyed the Times crossword puzzle. All that practice learning to disguise the curve of a googly pitch and understand a cryptic crossword seems to have come in a lot more handy than the Germans' tradition of giving each other dueling scars.

Kudos to Ben MacIntyre, author of Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal and Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory, for bringing us another unique and stranger-than-fiction tale of the sometimes farcical, but always riveting, intelligence agents and operations that helped win World War II.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free review copy of this book. ( )
  Remizak | Apr 7, 2013 |
This is a fascinating look at the double agents in World War II who ultimately helped to convince Germany that the D-Day landing was going to be at a different place and different time than it actually was. This is very much a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story. The spies are a strange group of people, many of them strangely dysfunctional or delusional or utterly brilliant. It's amazing that Great Britain managed to capture or turn all of Germany's spies, and amazing that the Germans were convinced that the double agents were actually working for them.

The book does give the Nazis short shrift - it makes all of the Nazis look like fools, when actually their reasons for believing the spies were more complex. Nonetheless, this is a fun and fascinating story, and Macintyre tells it well. ( )
  Gwendydd | Mar 17, 2013 |
I didn't finish this book. I started this book as it was on the Richard & Judy book list but, although it is cleverly written, it doesn't really interest me enough to continue reading it. ( )
  Carolinejyoung | Nov 13, 2012 |
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Epigraph
Tangle within tangle, plot and counter-plot, ruse and treachery, cross and double-cross, true agent, false agent, double agent, gold and steel, the bomb, the dagger and the firing party, were interwoven in many a texture so intricate as to be incredible and yet true. - Winston Churchill
The enemy must not know where I intend to give battle. For if he does not know where I intend to give battle he must prepare in a great many places. And when he prepares in a great many places, those I have to fight in any one place will be few. And when he prepares everywhere he will be weak everywhere. - Sun Tzu
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For Callum, Pablo, Minnie, and Wilf
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(Preface) In the summer of 1943, a genteel and soft-spoken intelligence officer wearing tartan trousers and smoking a pipe put the finishing touches to a secret weapon he had been working on for more than three years.
Dusko and Johnny were friends.
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Recounts the story of the six double agents--Bronx, Brutus, Treasure, Tricycle and Garbo--who would weave a web of deception so intricate that it ensnared Hitler's army and helped to carry thousands of troops across the Channel in safety on 6 June 1944, D-Day.… (more)

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