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

by Ben Macintyre

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,7098210,432 (3.94)235
Biography & Autobiography. History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML: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.

In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was orders orders from the Abwehr to blow up an airplane factory in Britain. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, Chapman worked as a double agent, a lone British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service. Crisscrossing Europe under different names, all the while 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.

The Nazis feted Chapman as a hero and awarded him the Iron Cross. In Britain, he was pardoned for his crimes, becoming the only wartime agent to be thus rewarded. Sixty years after the end of the war, and ten years after Chapman’s death, MI5 has now declassified all of Chapman’s files, releasing more than 1,800 pages of top secret material and allowing the full story of Agent Zigzag to be told for the first time.
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» See also 235 mentions

English (79)  Swedish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Real life spy. Wonderful! True life spy stories that are well written, like this one, are far more interesting than the made up stuff. ( )
  dvoratreis | May 22, 2024 |
This is a rattling good read. I'd say 'yarn', but it isn't one. It's all true. This is the story of Eddie Chapman, small-time crook, POW, German spy, British double agent, womaniser and small-time crook (again). Well written and researched, this complex and fast moving tale gives an astonishing picture of the world of espionage in WWII. The deceit and double-dealing involved, the secrecy, cross-checking and plain old-fashioned bravery are all quite astonishing. It's a quite unbelievable thriller. And a true story. ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
A pretty enjoyable tale. I could read Ben McIntyre’s books forever, sitting in a hot tub, with my feet in the air, knocking back a cold gin-and-tonic. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Really interesting story but it is partially ruined by is quaintness. The author starts to add a lot of details he could never know about and it ends up being pretty corny and hollywoodlike.
( )
  soraxtm | Apr 9, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (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.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ben Macintyreprimary authorall editionscalculated
John LeeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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For Kate
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A German spy drops from a black Focke-Wulf reconnaissance plane over Cambridgeshire.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Biography & Autobiography. History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML: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.

In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was orders orders from the Abwehr to blow up an airplane factory in Britain. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, Chapman worked as a double agent, a lone British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service. Crisscrossing Europe under different names, all the while 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.

The Nazis feted Chapman as a hero and awarded him the Iron Cross. In Britain, he was pardoned for his crimes, becoming the only wartime agent to be thus rewarded. Sixty years after the end of the war, and ten years after Chapman’s death, MI5 has now declassified all of Chapman’s files, releasing more than 1,800 pages of top secret material and allowing the full story of Agent Zigzag to be told for the first time.

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