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Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi…

Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Ben Macintyre

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965618,958 (3.93)175
Title:Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
Authors:Ben Macintyre
Info:Broadway (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:ebook, Your library
Tags:non-fiction, history, war

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Agent Zigzag. A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre (2007)


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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
The true story of Eddie Chapman - a charming ladies man, con artist and criminal who was serving a fifteen year sentence in jail on the Channel Islands when Germany invaded during WWII. The Nazis soon were enamored and convinced Eddie to become a spy. His friend Anthony Faramus is separated from Eddie, and is used as the leverage to keep Eddie loyal to the Germans. As long as Eddie does what they want, Faramus will be cared for and not sent before a firing squad. Eddie is parachuted into England to demolish a factory producing planes that were proving troublesome for the Germans. He promptly turns himself in to MI5 and offers his services as a double agent. The story that follows is fascinating as Eddie works for England, all the while having the Nazi handlers believing he was working for them. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good spy story. This one is as good as any fictional story. The audio version is read by the wonderful John Lee.

Read Mar 2014 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
I thought this was a great book, a very engrossing story, skillfully told. Eddie Chapman, whose codename was in fact Zigzag (I thought it was made up for the title) was a charming incorrigible who turned into a cunning double agent for the British during World War II. The stories of espionage are really remarkable and make James Bond seem not nearly so outlandish--the MI staged a bombing on an aircraft factory to deceive the Germans (thanks to the talents of a master magician!). I couldn't put it down, would recommend it to anyone who likes spy, espionage thrillers. ( )
  LizHD | Mar 25, 2015 |
The tale of Eddie Chapman - loveable rogue, double agent, womanizer. Don't read back to back with Ben Macintyre's other second world war books - there is some overlap in the material covered. ( )
  cazfrancis | Sep 23, 2014 |
I wish like hell there had been no war—I begin to wish I had never started this affair. To spy and cheat on one's friends it's not nice it's dirty. However, I started this affair and I will finish it.

I haven't read a book by Ben Macintyre that I didn't enjoy. When I picked this out of my tbr jar I knew I was in for a true story so odd that it would make a great spy novel/movie. Eddie Chapman was quite the character and it was a pleasure reading about him.

At times it is hard to believe that a man like Eddie could and would become a double agent for England during WWII. You wouldn't expect a criminal to have been allowed such an important and dangerous role but besides being a criminal Eddie was also loyal and had a charisma that would draw others to him. I grew to really like Eddie while reading this and felt horrible for him towards the end with all that Ryde threw against him, even though I knew most of it was Eddie's fault.

Reading one of Macintyre's books is always an experience. With this book, and the others by Macintyre that I have read, I didn't get a dry telling of history but rather a colorful telling of the events and the people behind them. There are always these wonderfully quirky people highlighted and some hilarious events discussed throughout Macintyre's books.

I would highly recommend this book if you want to read about a double agent unlike no other. ( )
  dpappas | Sep 1, 2014 |
It's not often you get to read a lively and entertaining history book, but Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre fits the bill. Eddie Chapman was Agent Zigzag in WWII, a dedicated British criminal (safe-cracking, break-ins, etc.) who became a double agent. He was trained as a German spy, only to immediately turn himself into British authorities upon parachuting into a field near London, and he then became an agent instead for the Allies. As book photos confirm, he was handsome, and someone whom a wide variety of personalities found charming, from staid government officials to spy trainers to other spies. His charm also paved the way for a number of romances, with Eddie insisting on female companionship at every port of call.

Besides following the remarkable true life exploits of this rogue, I enjoyed reading about the many related deceptions perpetrated on the unsuspecting Germans by British intelligence, from the well-known Enigma code-breaking advantage of knowing what the Germans were transmitting, including between their dangerous U-boats, to the complicated misdirection ploy of convincing the Germans the Allies were beginning their assault at Calais, not Normandy, to the faked destruction of a critical plane factory in which Eddie (and a magician!) played a key role.

Eddie's talent for lying repeated served him well, in playing roles and withstanding interrogation. He had a well-earned reputation for accomplishing the assigned mission, with the warning that you'd better be sure to watch your wallet as he was carrying it out. He couldn't resist adding extracurricular fleecing of one sort or another. From a lower class background, he became well-read, and fluent in French and German, and acquired noteworthy expertise in explosives. One section of the book has Eddie and Britain's upper class head man for explosives sharing a gleeful time discussing different ways to blow things up, like two little kids becoming best friends.

Eddie Chapman thrived on danger and adrenaline, and had no shortage of bravery. At one point, he was so convincing to the Germans that they awarded him a medal. Meanwhile, his multiple romances in different countries were deeply felt on both sides, and who he ended up marrying both surprised me and made me laugh. For an improbable slice of history served up in delicious fashion, you need look no further. Four stars. ( )
2 vote jnwelch | Jun 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Mr. Macintyre, a writer at large for The Times of London, paints a detailed picture, supported by newly opened MI5 files on espionage training in the Third Reich and Britain’s desperate scramble to throw the enemy off course through a campaign of disinformation.
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Zigzag. n, adj, and vb. '... a pattern made up of many small corners at an acute angle, tracing a path between two parallel lines; it can be described as both jagged and fairly regular'.
'It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus double agents are recruited and used.'

Sun Tzu, The Art of War
'War makes thieves and peace hangs them.'

George Herbert
For Kate
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A German spy drops from a black Focke-Wulf reconnaissance plane over Cambridgeshire.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307353419, Paperback)

“Ben Macintyre’s rollicking, spellbinding Agent Zigzag blends the spy-versus-
spy machinations of John le Carré with the high farce of Evelyn Waugh.”
—William Grimes, The New York Times

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of 2007
One of the Top 10 Best Books of 2007 (Entertainment Weekly)
New York Times Best of the Year Round-Up
New York Times Editors’ Choice

Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began. Based on recently declassified files, Agent Zigzag tells Chapman’s full story for the first time. It’s a gripping tale of loyalty, love, treachery, espionage, and the thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was parachuted into Britain with orders to blow up an airplane factory. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, he worked as a double agent, a British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service. Crisscrossing Europe under different names, weaving plans, spreading disinformation, and miraculously keeping his stories straight under intense interrogation, he even managed to gain some profit and seduce beautiful women along the way. MI5 has now declassified all of Chapman's files, allowing the full story to be told, a unique glimpse into the psychology of espionage, with its thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal.--From publisher description.… (more)

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