In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was parachuted into Britain with a revolver, a wireless, and a cyanide pill, with orders from the Abwehr to blow up an airplane factory. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, Chapman worked as a double agent, a lone British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service who at one time volunteered to assassinate Hitler for his countrymen.
Crisscrossing Europe under different names, all the while weaving plans, spreading disinformation, and, miraculously, keeping his stories straight under intense interrogation, he even managed to gain some profit and seduce beautiful women along the way.
The Nazis feted Chapman as a hero and awarded him the Iron Cross. In Britain, he was pardoned for his crimes, becoming the only wartime agent to be thus rewarded. Both countries provided for the mother of his child and his mistress.
Sixty years after the end of the war, and 10 years after Chapman's death, MI5 has now declassified all of Chapman's files, releasing more than 1,800 pages of top secret material and allowing the full story of Agent Zigzag to be told for the first time.
A gripping story of loyalty, love, and treachery, Agent Zigzag offers a unique glimpse into the psychology of espionage, with its thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal.
©2007 Ben MacIntyre; (P)2007 Books on Tape
"[An] intriguing and balanced biography." (Publishers Weekly)
I read mostly fiction, but was longing to read something with more substance. This Agent Zigzag book seemed like it might offer the intrigue of a good fiction book, but a real story with real people in it. And boy did it deliver. I also enjoyed the epilogue where Ben MacIntyre brought us to the 21st century with what happened to these real characters. Altogether, a great read
What a clever code name for a double agent. Unfortunately, someone else beat me to it, and this well-researched and well-told true story of Agent ZigZag is fascinating. What made it most interesting to me was the insight it gives into the world of British and German espionage during WWII.
The story of Agent ZigZag is itself most remarkable because he was such a miserable human being prior to the war, and then during the war, he turns into a heroic figure. While sympathetic to the Agent, the author consistently tries to present the information in a way that allows the reader to see both the good and the bad.
This is the first of at least three books by Macintyre on WWII espionage, and I am moving right on to Book #2, the story of Operation Mincemeat. I can't wait!
Wow! What an incredible story. If you like WWII history, you will love this listen. It is truly amazing how many other WWII issues that Agent Zigzag touched. You won't believe that you have never heard of him in relation to all of the WWII history that you have already read about. This story and its narration keeps you interested from beginning to end.
I usually listen to mysteries. I listen mainly while exercising or working around the house, so I need something that's "easy" to follow. This reads like a mystery. Fast paced and holds your interest.
Learning more about WWII.
This novel reads in list form, much like a diary. I was hoping for a smoother story line.
There was little dialogue in the novel. This separates the reader from the story.
I will listen again. This is an amazing story, I am looking forward to hearing and understanding more of the heroes' exploits, the second time......This TRUE story reads as if it's fiction.
Loved this so much. Having looked at The Man Who Never Was movie and other info, the extensive research, especially on the freshly release secret files, brings the full story to light far more accurately than the old "based on a true story", and its all the better a read for it!
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
Theif, lover, spy.
It sounds so plausible, it has to be true and what a ride.
The accents are brilliant. The story tone to his voice. The pace is perfect. Could not done better myself.
Eddie Chapman asked very little of the British and almost as much as he could get away from the Nazi's. When he asked the British you felt his deep desire to help those he could, he wasn't asking for himself. This came across nicely in the interrogation sections of the book.
This book along with Mince Meat made wonderful reading for spies, Nazi's and espionage. Can't wait to get my hands on a book about Garbo; I know there is some documentary film on that spy. Only problem I have is, could the Abwehr have been so stupid? Perhaps there is truth to the saying we see what we want to. I would like to hear a book about the British Intelligence blunders during WWII and find out some of the Abwehr successes. Perhaps trying times brings out the best in MI5 & MI6.
Certainly stranger and better than fiction. Great story and very well narrated by John Lee.
I'm really into WWII but my wife isn't - however she enjoyed it just as much as I did.
People not into WWII or spy may want to pass on this.
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