Non Fiction Reader
You must keep you wits about you when reading/lsitening to this book. There are a lot of characters with real and code names and since they are double and sometimes triple agents there are also those respective code names to keep a handle on. (This is especially trying when listening to the book in driving segments and often having to cut off a narrative in mid-sentence). I found myself listening in terms of the big picture rather than recalling all the names.
The fact is that the British were able to completely confuse the Germans into thinking the D-Day invasion was to take place at the Pas-de-Calias and not in Normandy. And then after the actual invasion convincing the Germans that Normandy was only a faint. I was not aware how harrowing their missions were and that these double agents had to return to enemy controlled territories in order to maintain the ruse and their cover stories. The delightful part of the story is the types of personalities that made up the double-cross networks. Each had to be treated carefully by their case officers who had to make sure that each of their agent's misinformation reinforced the others in such a sublte way as to make the Germans reach the exact conclusions they were supposed to. The book also touches on the treachery of the Cambridge Five who betrayed Britain's secrets to the Soviet Union.
It's a unique, compartmentalized, side-show into what led up to the D-Day landings. But these colorful characters were, in their own world, responsible for saving the lives of thousands af Americans, British, Canadian and French troops on June 6, 1944.
If you want to get an in-depth glimpse into the world of spies, this book is an excellent read. This book shows just how flawed and unique the people of espionage operations can be. Some are adventurers, gamblers, idealists and fantasists and each one had a fascinating role to play in deceiving the Nazi war machine.
Popov and Garbo both have such incredible tales that it boggles the mind.
The excellent use of multiple accents and the impeccable pronunciation of the various names, places and phrases used by five nationalities.
Very much so! It grabs you and does not let go!
I normally listen to audio books in my car while working. "Double Cross," compelled me to listen while doing things around the house and watching the Olympics. It provided a new perspective on WW II.
Most folks know the story or the D-day invasion. Probably all but the most studious of us have never heard of the back room intelligence that went into confounding Germany on that
longest of days.
Ben Macintyre's account is fantastic of the events leading up to, during and after the
invasion from small houses in England to MI-5 headquarters. I enjoyed this as much
as I did Operation Mincemeat, another one of Macintyre's books
I do enjoyed that it was read by a "reader" with an english accent.
Though it did have some draw backs.
There was the part at the end of the book where one of the control agents continues
to look for one of the spies long after the war.
I really wish that John Lee had just read the book and not tried to improvise
the "voices". Every American sounded like they were from Texas, the Russian accents
sound German sometimes and Polish at other times. Polish accents were a mis-mash.
You cannot make the characters in this book up. Well written, well read, and such an outrageous collection of characters, real people, eccentric people, brave men and women who played an important part in collecting and sending miss-information during WWII. I seriously wonder why this hasn't already been made into a mini-series.
If you enjoy real life spy stories then I recommend first reading the authors other books such as "operation mincemeat", "agent zigzag" or "a spy among friends" . After them then pick up this book. It's a thrilling story of the allied deception plans up till d-day. It is however a little fragmented with many stories overlapping but still a worthwhile read.
Well done - good 'what happened to them' follow up.
Lively narrative, appropriate accents
Great story - interesting parallels to spy characters in Ken Follett's Winter of the World, but this story is true. Complexity of names and relationships a little hard to follow in audio format.
Agent Zigzag was centered around a single character, and was excellent. Operation Mincemeat was written around a relatively small operation, and I enjoyed it as well. Double Cross attempts to use the similar character-based (fiction-like) writing style, but becomes lost in (what feels like) hundreds of characters throught Europe who are somehow associated with the massive D-Day invasion. "Page after page" seemed to revolve around minute details about individuals- what secretaries looked like, their interests, their demeanor, etc. Just as I began to form a picture of a person, it felt as if we moved on to someone else. In many cases, I feel like I learned details about random people who never were mentioned again.
Narration was pretty good, although I agree with others who suggest that Russian & German "accents" were overdone.
This book has both fascinating history and a gripping story, leading to a rare combination of education and entertainment. Highly recommended. Good narration.