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Operation Fortitude: The True Story of the Key Spy Operation of WWII That Saved D-Day

Operation Fortitude: The True Story of the Key Spy Operation of WWII That Saved D-Day [Kindle Edition]

Joshua Levine
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Description


“Levine’s compelling portrait of the Troubles and subsequent peace process is the sort of book that should be thrust into the hands of a minister arriving in Northern Ireland who needs to get a handle on how things have reached this point and where they might be heading next.” Sunday Times

“Joshua Levine has a natural gift for narrative description. This superb book, based on a wide range of interviews, not only gives a clear explanation of how the peace process developed but also serves as a grisly reminder of the tribal violence, bigotry and hatred that so badly scarred Northern Ireland.” Daily Express

Beauty and Atrocity was shortlisted for the Writers’ Guild Non Fiction Book of the 2010

Product Description

Operation Fortitude was the ingenious web of deception spun by the Allies to mislead the Nazis as to how and where the D-Day landings were to be mounted.

'One of the most creative intelligence operations of all time' – Kim Philby

The story of how this web was woven is one of intrigue, personal drama, ground-breaking techniques, internal resistance, and good fortune. It is a tale of double agents, black radio broadcasts, phantom armies, 'Ultra' decrypts, and dummy parachute drops. These diverse tactics were intended to come together to create a single narrative so compelling that it would convince Adolf Hitler of its authenticity.

Operation Fortitude was intended to create the false impression that the Normandy landings were merely a feint to disguise a massive forthcoming invasion by this American force in the Pas de Calais. In other words, the success of D-Day – the beginning of the end of the Second World War – was made possible by the efforts of men and women who were not present on the Normandy beaches.

Men such as Juan Pujol, a Spanish double-agent (code-name GARBO) who sent hundreds of wireless messages from London to Madrid in the build-up to D-Day relaying supposed intelligence from his fictitious spy network. This allowed the enemy to conclude that the number of Allied divisions preparing to invade was twice the actual number.

Men such as R.V Jones, the head of British Scientific Intelligence, who masterminded the dropping of tinfoil confetti from the bomb-bay doors of Lancaster bombers, creating a false impression that a flotilla of Allied ships was heading in the opposite direction to the genuine invasion fleet.

Using first hand sources from a wide range of archives, government documents, letters and memos Operation Fortitude builds a picture of what wartime Britain was like, as well as the immense pressure these men and women were working under and insure D-Day succeeded.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1231 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007313535
  • Publisher: Collins (4 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,598 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joshua Levine is the author of Operation Fortitude and On a Wing and a Prayer. He is also a playwright and writer for television. His last book, Beauty and Atrocity, a history of the Irish Troubles, was shortlisted for the Writers' Guild Non Fiction Book of the Year Award.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RECOMMENDED 19 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A thoroughly entertaining book on a subject which, like the 'Ultra' secret of the breaking of the German 'enigma' code, was kept under wraps for many years after the war. The deception carried out on the Germans to make them believe that the main assault on N.W. Europe would not be in Normandy but at the Pas de Calais was an overwhelming success and Joshua Levine tells the story admirably. There are other, more detailed, books on the subject, notably Roger Hesketh's 'Fortitude' and Tomas Harris's 'Garbo - The spy who saved D-Day', but being more detailed does not necessarily make a book better. Levine's book is aimed at the general reader and as such makes absorbing reading.

The D-Day deception itself is not dealt with until about half way through the book. The opening chapters are concerned with the Double Cross system, i.e. the capture, 'turning' (and sometimes hanging) of German spies together with the recruitment of foreign volunteers who offer to become double agents. The most famous of these, of course, was the Spaniard Juan Pujol, code named Garbo who, at the end of the war, received medals from both the duped Germans and the grateful British (the Iron Cross from the Germans and the MBE from the British). It was years before the Germans found out how they had been conned.

Levine's book is an enjoyable and well-researched read for anyone interested in this fascinating subject. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good 26 Aug 2011
By Mr. Pj Williams VINE VOICE
for anyone who enjoyed operation mincemeat by macintyre then this is a book for you. it is written in a very similar style and cover many of the same themes if in fact covering 1944 instead of 1943 objectives. its basically the story of the double cross system. using double agents to convince the Germans the invasion will come where they think it will...Calais. for such a small book I thought it would be thin on information but it holds its own, and delivers the material in an interesting way. my only qualms are it seemed to be rushed at the end and knowing that so much has been written on this I cant help but feel there has to be large swathes not included that might have been essential. however great starting place for anyone just looking to breeze through the subject of strategic deception.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent new history 22 April 2011
This excellent book gives a new angle on the planning and operations before D-Day. Detailing the deception plan developed to confuse the Germans about where the Allied landing was going to take place and how strong it would be, the author carefully pieces together this complicated and fascinating story in a well written and gripping narrative. So much of this operation was reliant on the use of double agents, German spies who had been "turned" by the British security services, and a great deal of the book is given over to describing how this came about - starting with the early years of the war and the development of these agents, with their particular strengths and foibles, before going on to show how they managed to put across the false information that kept the German armoured divisions pinned down in the wrong locations and gave the Allies a chance for victory in Normandy. It then details the complex planning that went into the D-Day landings and deception plan before revealing how it all turned out - along with the many scares and slip ups along the way. This fascinating new look at D-Day is highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book 13 April 2012
Most people who've read about WW2 know that Hitler held back a large part of his army during D-Day and the weeks after because he feared an attack on Calais. This excellent book goes into detail about how the Allies fooled the Nazis into believing that entire phantom armies existed, the lives and motivations of the double agents and their handlers who pulled it off and how the whole thing had an unlikely beginning.

I picked up this book as an impulse buy and enjoyed every page of it. It shows how the origins of Double Cross and Fortitude were both brilliant planning and amazing dumb luck. A fascinating and occasionally hilarious read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult story 30 May 2013
By Michel
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A bit of a disappointment to me.
The book goes into great detail on persons involved from all kind of countries and their story.
What I miss (and was looking for) is the master-plan.

I think that the overall story is not shown well enough due to the overflow of personal details and names.
A piity.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but might have been better? 1 Nov 2011
By Roy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I confess to being a little disappointed as only the latter half of the book specifically details the events close to and surrounding the D Day deception. The first half deals with the spy catching and setting up of the agents who made Operation Fortitude possible. It is a little as though there is not enough specific Operation Fortitude material to fill a whole book so it has been filled out with supporting material. Having said that I recognise that without spending 4 years setting things up the actual events of Operation Fortitude would not have been possible.
An OK read but not in the Max Hastings class!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly little on Operation Fortitude 14 Dec 2011
This is a 300 page read, but you get to page 180 before it starts going into operation Fortitude itself. And even when it does, it shoots off into tangents, such as a 4 page recap on General Patton's career (he slapped one of his men, I know already and why is it in this book?)

If I was just looking for a general Ben Macintyre-style espionage read, I'd probably up my review to 3 or 4 stars, becuase it's not badly written. But I was particularly interested in Fortitude and 2/3rds of this book is just a general history of British counterintelligence.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Operation Fortitude by Joshua Levine
This book is an excellent read informative and is difficult to put down. One has to wonder how the enemy forces could be so led up the garden path. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Terry Heslop
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Fantastic reading. Very enjoyable book. Facts prove that truth is stranger than fiction. I would recommend this book to anybody.
Published 1 month ago by robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Operation Fortitude: The Greatest Hoax of the Second World War
I bought this book second hand for my husband. I think it was a penny plus postage.He thoroughly enjoyed it.
Published 8 months ago by Adgee
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Not A Lot Of New Information
This is an interesting well written book about a familiar story.Many books have been written on this topic and so the author does have a problem in convincing that any of the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Wingate
5.0 out of 5 stars A excellent book
I had wondered where I could find this book, which I first read on holiday last year.
A couple of clicks and I had found it on Amazon, a couple more and I'd bought it - and 3... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Geoff
5.0 out of 5 stars Joshua Levine
I bought this book for my husband as I had read a good review about it. He found it a good read.
Published 11 months ago by Elisabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written book
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well written, informative, accessible story. I don't usually like this sort of book, but the way the story was told kept my interest throughout.
Published 14 months ago by V Johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and staggering
I had read elsewhere about Bodyguard and Fortitude but this account is the most engrossing I have encountered. Read more
Published 15 months ago by F. Robb
5.0 out of 5 stars A great true story
A wonderful true story,how brave these people must have been.

Thanks to them we live our lives. People should read all about these wonderful brave,fearless agents.
Published 22 months ago by the fox
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