- 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 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 314 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Double Cross: The True Story of The D-Day Spies Paperback – 30 Aug 2012
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Audio Cassette, Audiobook, Unabridged
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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)
From the Number One bestselling author of Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat, comes a new true story of Second World War deceptionSee all Product description
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Rather than a book that is primarily about an individual or a specific 'Operation', the subject here is the longer term and loose project known as XX which was a short way of writing 'Double Cross' and which dominated Allied efforts from 1943-45.
It was long understood by both sides that there would at some point in time be an invasion of mainland Europe. When it was to happen and where would depend on a number of factors but it was first deemed essential that the number of successes that Hitler's Germany was to see would diminish and that Allied strengths and capabilities would have to be much greater than during the first three years of the War. The turning point came in 1943 when the Allies won at Tobruk, Sicily was successfully invaded and offered a foothold in Italy and, by no means least, when Germany was losing more submarines than they were sinking merchant vessels and the disaster of Stalingrad put paid to Germany's plan to link up with Japanese troops.
The Double Cross project involved a great many ideas each of which was intended to mislead and confuse the enemy, create doubts and weaknesses and otherwise gain whatever advantage was possible. Operation Mincemeat, the subject itself of another book by this author, was just one part and the use of double agents and using Germany's own methods of turning agents and radio operators against their own country was used with great success and without any suspicion ever being raised. The book covers many of the different ideas that were employed. It also includes some of the Enigma story, without which it would have been impossible to assess and understand German reactions to the various events.
Due to its wide coverage, it provides an excellent retrospective on the ideas, their implementation and execution and sometimes the problems that were to be encountered. There is a degree of summarisation in order to cover those parts of the overall plan which the author believes best delivers the concept; 'Agent Zigzag' another of MacIntyre's books relating a specific agent's part in the overal scheme is of almost similar size to this which provides an indication of the degree of compression applied.
An excellent read which covers much of the Intelligence-led Allied actions of the last half of the War.
It was very saddening not finding out to JJ such a brave man.
I have already recommended this book to a lot of friends and to some who are Volunteers at Bletchley Park as I am, so they can fully understand about these very eccentric people.
We think of spying as being in a risky business, but the losses to the spy team were much less than, say, an equivalent number in the army.
The backroom boys of the XX team were a bright bunch; but they had what I would call `a good war'. Meetings were often held in top class hotels, and the working atmosphere was rather like that of a good club committee (cricket club terminology was often used).
The XX work was assisted by the gullibility of the German spy team. I was surprised by the corruption here - for example cash that was intended for their agents was often funnelled-off to support the comfortable lifestyle of the German managers.
The Normandy DD landings were assisted by XX work insofar as German army divisions were held in reserve around Calais for too long.
I enjoyed Ben Macintyre's writing - everything is clearly expressed - with more than a touch of ironic humour where appropriate. That said, descriptions of agents, false agents, double and even triple agents, underline the almost surreal world in which they existed.
I was pleased to note that the practical work of the code-breakers at Bletchley Park is seen as invaluable.
I recommend this book as a different perspective of the 2nd World War.
The D-Day spies were a species apart; larger than life and so much more interesting. How dared they - I asked myself many times if I could have done what they did, and with such accomplished conviction. I have no idea.
Riveting, fascinating and highly recommended.
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Superb bit of history away from the grand battles but essential to the outcome of the war