- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 2010 edition (6 Sept. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408809214
- ISBN-13: 978-1408809211
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (352 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II Paperback – 6 Sep 2010
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'A rollicking read for all those who enjoy a spy story so fanciful that Ian Fleming - himself an officer in Montagu's wartime department - would never have dared to invent it' Max Hastings, Sunday Times 'Ben Macintyre, also the author of the acclaimed Agent Zigzag, is fast becoming a one-man industry in these updated tales of cunning, bravery and skulduggery. With his mix of meticulous research and a good hack's eye for narrative, it is hard to think of a better guide to keep beckoning us back to that fascinating world' Observer 'Even more spellbinding than his previous story of wartime espionage, Agent Zigzag, with a cast-list every bit as dotty and colourful ... Macintyre is a master of the thumbnail character sketch' Mail on Sunday 'Astonishing ... sheds riveting new light on this breathtaking plan' Daily Mail
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. He lives in London with his wife and three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book tells the story of perhaps the greatest British deception operation of WWII, "The man who never was". To throw the Axis off the scent of the invasion of Sicily, a dead body was floated onto Spanish shores with a briefcase full of (bogus) secret documents. Added to other bits and pieces, it helped convince the Nazis that Sicily was only a feint, with the real invasion directed at Sardinia and the Balkans. That it worked is incredible, when you think about how many things could have gone wrong - and nearly did.
Ben Macintyre has started at the beginning, covering off all the principals of the saga - the dead man himself, Ewen Montagu and Charles Cholmondeley, the men responsible for creating the deception operation, and the various spies and spies and counter-spies on all sides, plus a cameo appearance by Ian Fleming, then-future creator of James Bond. There is a little about Jean Leslie as the (beautiful) girlfriend whose photo "Major Martin" kept in his wallet, and about Ewen Montagu's Communist spy brother, Ivor (whose wife Hell appears on the cover of some editions, for no reason I can discern save gender balance and to hint at a femme fatale narrative). Then, after all the buildup, we get a rare look into Franco's wartime neutral Spain, a hotbed of intrigue with frantic espionage being undertaken by pretty much every combatant of WWII, and by the Spanish themselves, largely, but far from exclusively, as a proxy for the Axis powers.Read more ›
An incredible story.
And what a story - so incredible that it sounds like something out of a spy novel. Take a dead body, dress it in military uniform and plant fake papers on it to persuade the Germans that a forthcoming invasion will take place somewhere other than the actual target, then set it adrift so that it will wash up in neutral Spain as if it had been the victim of an air crash. The end result was that Allied casualties were far lighter than they might otherwise have been.
Even if you've already read 'The Man Who Never Was', you will learn much from this book - including the identity of the dead body who became Major William Martin, which Montagu was not allowed to reveal. Highly recommended.
"Operation Mincemeat"was one of those deceptions which have eventually surprised the Nazis into believing that an invasion od the Allies would take place not in Sicily but in Greece.This great hoax was the brainchild of a Jewish barrister, Ewen Montagu,and a RAF officer who concocted a cocktail of deception involving a list of eccentric characters.Among them wasa famous forensic pathologist(whose style of life was bizzare),a gold-prospector,a submarine commander, three novelist and a tranvestite spymaster.
The whole deception plan started beneath Whitehall.Montagu was looking for a corpse of someone who was supposed to carry classified documents on his body.These papers were to be the proof that the Allies had invasion plans for Greece.But where do you look for a suitable corpse? Enter Sir Bernard Spilbury,a senior pathologist at the Home Office and pioneer of forensics.With the help of another colleague,Spilbury located the corpse of Welsh young man who was mentally deranged and poisoned himself.Thus,the whole procedure of arranging a forged identity of this man started.It was an arduous journey and all this was meant to build a plausible story for the Nazis.Another man working for the British intelligence designed the canister which would contain the corpse of the fictitious Major William Martin.Montagu and his RAF officer would then deliver the canister to a British submarine commander whose mission was to drop it in Spanish waters.Why Spain?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a 'Wondefrful Book this is'!! Although I was not born until WW2. was over, I have found an interest in the 'What if's' and 'What do you think's', of the War. Read morePublished 4 days ago by judy mercer.
excellent extraordinary true story, if you like this you'll love Agent Zig Zag about Eddie Chapman double agent. He is Ace.Published 6 days ago by JULIE
This book is very well written and to readers of my age who were round at the time and can also remember the film about this episode, this book is of great interest as it shows to... Read morePublished 14 days ago by frank
I can never tire of hearing or reading about this incredible deception, which undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives in the Allied invasions of Europe. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Jasper
A fascinating read for anyone with an interest in ww2 this book is a real page turner that you don't want to put down.Published 1 month ago by Flaminpie
An excellent read - I found the book almost impossible to put down. The subject matter is fascinating, and Mr Macintyre's presentation of it makes it even more engaging. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Grant Melville