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Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies [Paperback]

Ben Macintyre
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Aug 2012

D-Day, 6 June 1944, the turning point of the Second World War, was a victory of arms. But it was also a triumph for a different kind of operation: one of deceit...

At the heart of the deception was the 'Double Cross System', a team of double agents whose bravery, treachery, greed and inspiration succeeded in convincing the Nazis that Calais and Norway, not Normandy, were the targets of the 150,000-strong Allied invasion force. These were not conventional warriors, but their masterpiece of deceit saved thousands of lives. Their codenames were Bronx, Brutus, Treasure, Tricycle and Garbo. This is their story.

Frequently Bought Together

Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies + Agent Zigzag: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman: The Most Notorious Double Agent of World War II + Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II
Price For All Three: 14.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (30 Aug 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1408830620
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408830628
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ben Macintyre is a columnist and Associate Editor on The Times. He has worked as the newspaper's correspondent in New York, Paris and Washington. He is the author of seven previous books including Agent Zigzag, the story of wartime double-agent Eddie Chapman, which was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and the Galaxy British Book Award for Biography of the Year 2008. Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II, published in January 2010, is the thrilling true story of the greatest and most successful wartime deception ever attempted. He lives in London with his wife and three children.

(Photo credit: Jerry Bauer)

Product Description


Utterly gripping (Anthony Beevor, Daily Telegraph)

I have seldom enjoyed a spy story more than this one, and fiction will make dreary reading hereafter (Max Hastings, Sunday Times)

Macintyre is a first-class narrative historian ... as pacy as a thriller and better written than most (Sunday Telegraph)

Addictive and deeply moving (Independent)

Enthralling ... A book so gripping that I even found myself reading it in lifts, frequently emitting snorts of incredulity. A reminder that heroism can be found in the most unlikely places (Evening Standard)

This fascinating book finds a vivid and very human path through one of the greatest moments in our history (Daily Mail)

Book Description

From the Number One bestselling author of Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat, comes a new true story of Second World War deception

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double Cross 13 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anyone who has read anything by Ben Macintyre before will know that they are in for a treat. He is a wonderful storyteller and, in this book, he is on territory he seems to understand brilliantly and relish. The Allied military planners were working on the the great assault on Nazi Occupied Europe - the D-Day invasion would decide the outcome of the war. In order to convince the Germans that the invasion was coming where it was not actually coming, and not coming in the place where it was actually coming, a huge amount of effort was expended. There were dummy planes, tanks and even dummy armies in place to fool the Germans. There were even pigeons masquerading as German carrier pigeons (lots more on pigeons in the book - they play a larger part than you might imagine!). There were impersonators to convince the Germans that military leaders were elsewhere. Counterfeit generals led non-existent armies. Radio operators created a barrage of fake signals. Finally, there were spies. The Allies had a harder task than it appears in hindsight, knowing that it succeeded, as the targer range for a cross-Channel invasion was small. There were only a handful of suitable spots for a massed landing and it was important that the entire might of the German forces were not waiting when the Allies landed.

Tar Robertson created a bodyguard of liars - the "Double Cross System" coordinated by the Twenty (XX) Committee. They specialised in turning German spies into double agents. Every single German agent in Britain was under his control, enabling huge and co-ordinated lies to be told. The task of Operation Fortitude was to bottle up German troops in the Pas de Calais and keep them there - this ability depended on Robertson's spies.
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111 of 121 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At the Tehran conference in 1943, the Allies laid the plans for the invasion of Europe, codenamed Operation Overlord. It was a high-risk strategy, and to maximize the chance of its success it was essential that for as long as possible the Germans should be uncertain where the invasion would take place. To this end, Operation Bodyguard was created. It was an immense undertaking, involving the construction of false tanks and aircraft, sending masses of fake radio signals and even `creating' whole dummy armies, apparently directed at spurious targets on the continent. But within this activity, the most important element of deception was that provided by Operation Fortitude. This was specifically aimed at convincing the Germans that the invasion would take place at the Pas de Calais, rather than the actual site chosen, the Normandy coast. It was hoped that when the invasion started, the Germans would assume it was only a diversion and so would not move their strong tank forces away from the Calais area, thus giving the Allies time to establish themselves on shore.

The core of Fortitude was the Double Cross system, where enemy spies were `turned' and became double agents acting for Britain. This is the subject of Ben Macintyre's book. It was a system developed by an eccentric, but brilliant, MI5 officer, `Tar' Robinson. By mid 1943, he realized that every German agent in Britain was actually being controlled by MI5 and so he could start feeding misinformation to the German handlers of the turned spies. In practice, the nucleus of Double Cross was just five agents.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Macintyre's Best, So Far! 18 July 2012
Macintyre has seized a publishing niche, producing good, readable, popular and often funny books covering some of the more interesting stories that came out of British Second World War intelligence operations. Aided by the release of previously classified documents plus good international research, his books on `Agent Zig-Zag' and `Operation Mincemeat' established him as an expert in the field.

`Double Cross' is his best book so far. It covers the huge intelligence undertaking, `Operation Fortitude,' a long term sophisticated plan to deceive the Germans as to where and when the 1944 invasion of continental Europe would take place. In the end, `Fortitude' was an outstanding success, but it was a very near-run thing. At the core of the operation were five double agents, all of whom had to be carefully groomed and handled - and in several cases even allowed to travel back to contact their equivalent Nazi handlers.

Macintyre does an excellent job at portraying each of these individuals - who alternated from being incredibly brave, to arrogant, devious, and possibly untrustworthy. Today, several of them might be described as `bi-polar' or even schizophrenic. One self-obsessed woman put the whole enterprise and the lives of thousands of allied soldiers at risk, because of her suspicion that the British had killed her dog.

The British MI5 intelligence team are equally interesting - eccentric, tenacious, imaginative and cunning. `Tar' Robinson and his team can be seen as a key part of ensuring that the June 6th 1944 invasion of Normandy was not driven back into the sea by the Germans. If that had happened, the war would have been greatly prolonged and the shape of post-war Europe after the still inevitable defeat of Germany would have been significantly changed.

It's a very good, sometimes amusing and very informative read - five stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good read
Ben Macintyre has done it again making true life every bit as exciting as fiction a really good read. Recommended.
Published 15 days ago by Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Double Cross
This book arrived exactly as promised. I highly recommend the book, it is very interesting and readable. I think thi author writes interesting and entertaining books.
Published 16 days ago by Barbara Horne
5.0 out of 5 stars d day spines
delivery and service excellent. . book really enjoyable, will make sure friends and family read this book.

thank you very much
Published 16 days ago by chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!
Being engrossed by WWII, tales of this type are completely fascinating to me. Indeed, if this were a fictional novel, you might be tempted to say the storyline was just too... Read more
Published 29 days ago by MikeTango
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Very readable account of the D Day spies and their work. Would seem unbelievable if it wasn't true. Makes you realise how brave they were.
Published 1 month ago by Barclaycard
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
given that this is a true story it's believable but if it were fiction you'd condemn it as too far fetched by miles. ben Macintyre has produced another excellent read
Published 1 month ago by Geoff Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent account of the wartime spy's controlled by the UK
This kept interest from start to finish providing enough detail on the people and what they achieved through the double cross network operated during the Second World War.
Published 1 month ago by IDP
5.0 out of 5 stars Double Cross: The true story of the D-Day spies
An interesting insight into the 'Goings-on' among secret agencies to mislead the Germans about D-Day and other operations. What a marvellous job they did too.
Published 1 month ago by wrinklie
5.0 out of 5 stars A phenomenal story
fact is always more amazing than fiction, and this is no exception. If you wrote this into a Hollywood plot people would say it was nonsence.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Diane G Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Macintyre has a very enjoyable writing style. He brings these real life tales to life without going overboard. A must read for anyone interested in ww2.
Published 2 months ago by Osama Bin Laden
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