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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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3661429,640 (3.78)56
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)

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Ben MacIntyre is a reliable teller of fascinating stories surrounding World War II and Cold War spying, especially about the British intelligence services. In Double Cross, he tells the tale of five double agents, men and women the Germans THOUGHT were spying for them but who were, in truth, spying for Britain. All five were involved in a plan to divert German resources from the true location of the D-Day invasion, saving countless lives.

Double Cross is full of “who knew?” moments. I had no idea that British intelligence agencies, because of the cracking of the Enigma code, knew about virtually all German spies before they arrived in England – and were able to neutralize them in one way or another. Many were turned into double agents. Or who knew that a single spy could weave an intricate web of false agents whom he “employed” in a disinformation campaign? We all know how difficult it is to keep ONE lie straight, but Juan Pujol Garcia was a master double agent who was able to keep dozens of plates spinning. It’s surprising how gullible the Nazis turned out to be.

I recommended Double Agent to my non-fiction group. When the discussion of Double Cross had to be cancelled, members were up in arms. They convinced the library to reschedule so we wouldn’t miss out on discussing this fascinating book, which all the members truly enjoyed.

I’ve read three other books by Ben MacIntyre and loved them all. I’m hoping he keeps on doing what he’s doing and keeping readers provided with great spy stories. ( )
  NewsieQ | Nov 17, 2014 |
Whilst I was interested to read further details about the double cross spies operational during the second world war, 'Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies' covered a lot of the same ground as 'Operation: Mincemeat' and 'A Spy mong Friends' - my fault for reading Ben Macintyre's books back to back.

I enjoyed Macintyre's descriptions of the humour of the situation, particularly Agent Garbo, who the Nazis paid handsomely to supply them with nonsense.

An enjoyable read. ( )
  cazfrancis | Sep 23, 2014 |
Seventy years ago, the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy and began the campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe. Many circumstances contributed to the success of the D-Day invasion, but one of the most important factors was the campaign of disinformation being fed to the Germans by a network of double agents whose sole purpose was to convince the Abwehr that the Allies would be landing at Calais rather than Normandy. Had these agents failed, the Germans would have concentrated their forces at Normandy, most likely stopping the Allied invasion in its tracks. This book tells the stories of the individual double agents involved in this task, including Serbian playboy Dusko Popov ("Tricycle"), Peruvian socialite Elvira Chaudoir ("Bronx"), and Polish nationalist Roman Czerniawski ("Valentine"). Ultimately, Macintyre makes a convincing case for the proposition that the Allies would never have won the war on the battlefields had they not already won the intelligence war.

This book gives a wealth of fascinating detail about the six men and women who acted as double agents in Britain, allegedly spying for Germany but really working for the Allies. I was shocked to learn that British intelligence had actually discovered and turned every German agent in Britain at the time! Because of this, the Allies were able to present a unified message to the Germans, subtlely directing their attention away from Normandy and toward other possible invasion sites. Some of the specific stories in the book prove once again that truth is stranger than fiction: for example, Dusko Popov thrived on creating networks of sub-agents that were entirely fictional, yet he retained the Abwehr's complete trust. I also loved the fact that these double agents were handled in Britain by the Twenty Committee, so named because the Roman numeral for 20 is XX, or "double cross." In short, if you're interested in true stories of WWII-era espionage, Ben Macintyre is your man!
  christina_reads | Jun 26, 2014 |
Excellent read! The material is so thoroughly researched and still so well told. You forget it's true because it reads like a fascinating story. Great book, and definitely not the sort of thing I usually pick up. Thrilling for all. ( )
  Alliebadger | May 28, 2014 |
Feeling at a remove from the world of WWII-era black-and-white photos, kids these days might complacently feel the results of that vast conflict were a foregone conclusion. In truth, the Allied victory was not certain. Those same kids (if their forebears were not annihilated) came very close to speaking German and celebrating Adolph Hitler Day. To win the war, the Allied forces had to land in Northern Europe. We knew it and the Germans knew it. The big question was where the assault would take place. If the Germans guessed right, they could mass their forces in the right place and hold off the Allies. If not, the Allies would gain a foothold to work their way to Berlin.

Ben McIntyre's Double Cross recounts the remarkable stories of a group of double agents working out of England. The Germans believed they were spying for them. In reality, they were part of an imaginative and calculated espionage effort out of England. This motley group of men and women busily provided disinformation, harmless true information and true yet untimely intelligence -- all in the effort to confuse the Axis powers. Their supreme efforts convinced Germany the Northern European assault would take place far from the beaches of Normandy.

Who were these people? What motivated them to become double agents? How did they pull off this enormous hoax? Based upon newly declassified and released records McIntyre tells a walloping good tale about a little known yet critically important part of the war effort. ( )
  michigantrumpet | May 17, 2014 |
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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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