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Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies Paperback – 30 Aug 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 297 customer reviews

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Paperback, 30 Aug 2012
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (30 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408830620
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408830628
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ben McIntyre can spot a good yarn and tell it compulsively - I never tire of recommending Josiah the Great. The author's dabblings in the behind-the-scenes stories of World War II have also been rewarding, but Double Cross is something of a disappointment.

No doubting that the five double agents (who never met) portrayed here were brave, audacious people; no doubting, either, that the Intelligence staff who manipulated them were bold and imaginative. The games they played almost certainly helped win the war, saving many lives. Equally, they gambled dangerously for the highest stakes.

While Double Cross takes the reader through the various separate stories, the fact that some of this is reworking of previously known material gives the book something of a second-hand feel. Like another reviewer, I wondered how much invention had gone into a long and detailed account of the meeting at which Tar Robertson sacked one of his agents.

Recommended for newcomers to the story but only with reservations for those with previously high opinions of the author.
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Format: Hardcover
This extraordinarily well researched book is an absolute winner. Ben Macintyre has put together, in an immensely readable form, some of the most fascinating stories of the spies who did so much to help our Country. His style is easy to read and yet, allows the stories to be told in such a way that one almost feels that one knows each of the characters he explores - and what characters they are!
There are some very interesting titbits such as how each Agent was given their code name, and why. I suspect that this book will
appeal to a wide cross-section of the Public and whether you are a serious Historian or someone with just an interest in WWII stories, you cannot fail to be both entertained and enlightened.
Buy it and enjoy, you won't regret it.Double Cross
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