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Agent Zigzag Audiobook

Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

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Publisher's Summary

Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began.

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

What the Critics Say

"[An] intriguing and balanced biography." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (766 )
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4.6 (487 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Florence 05-04-13
    Florence 05-04-13 Member Since 2016

    British radio producer; storyteller, folk historian and book addict. I rely on audio books to help me fit in extra reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Tale of A Wide Boy Turned Good."

    I know that many people adore John Lee. But it has taken me years to get used to his rather stilted narrative. Oh! I stick with him, because based on (presumably listener?) "fandom"; most of my favourite authours ; or at least their agents; choose John Lee to narrate.
    Actually, he is getting better, less stilted and clipped. And in the narration of this book he does a mostly excellent job. My only concern was when he couldn't seem to find an accent for Eddie. Our hero seemed to dive between lowland Scotland and somewhere in Wiltshire.
    Still, not every listener will be sniffy about regional dialect. And Lee's performances are solid.
    The story is fantastic!
    I've met a few Eddie Chapman's in my time (Eddie sans the spy work that is). Wide boys who have a wild life, and seized every opportunity they could during and after the war to "better" themselves; but were ultimately true to their nearest and country.
    The book fairly gallops along, without any of the expected "norms". Here you will find decent Germans; and unpleasant Brits. You will be unsure of Eddie and what he was up to; see-sawing between liking him, and wondering if he's about to pull a fast one.
    The hidden stories of WW2 are incredible. And this one; quite; quite amazing.
    My only gripe....occurred early in the book. I could not figure out whether it was a mistake made by an authour too young to know; or a slip of the tongue; or a slip up in editing.
    Someone in Jersey complains that
    "He used enough tea bags to brew tea for {lots of people} ...."
    I well remember my Auntie Gladys; recalling with hilarity; how when her sister Joan was visiting America in the late 1940's; she sent her sister a box of tea bags.
    Gladys had her children sitting in the kitchen carefully slicing open each bag, to empty the contents into her tea caddy.
    "What a waste of time tea bags are!!" She said "It took HOURS to unpick them all!!"
    I didn't see my first tea bag (in rural Kent {England}) until somewhere in the mid 1960's. We were highly suspicious of them! So the idea of someone in Jersey having tea bags...or a good English boy knowing what on earth they were; in 1940; is highly suspect.

    Apart from that (Just call me nit-pickety) this book is brilliant! Absolutely bloody brilliant!



    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teadrinker Newark, NJ, United States 09-09-16
    Teadrinker Newark, NJ, United States 09-09-16 Member Since 2015

    World Champion Parallel Parker

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining History"

    Well-told and very entertaining story of a complex subject. MacIntyre writes history as human drama on a stage. I just wish that it had been longer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Brooks Seattle, WA United States 01-22-15
    W. Brooks Seattle, WA United States 01-22-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow start, but then turbo charged"

    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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Byron Tallahassee, FL, United States 07-08-13
    Byron Tallahassee, FL, United States 07-08-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Wish I'd thought up the name Agent ZigZag!"

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lita 05-09-13
    Lita 05-09-13

    Lita

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    "Great Story!"

    Can't wait till the movie comes out! The story is written so well, you lost yourself in it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 09-25-12
    Robert 09-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I can't believe it's not fiction"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Los Altos Hills, CA, United States 09-10-12
    Christine Los Altos Hills, CA, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2003
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    "Great read."
    What made the experience of listening to Agent Zigzag the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Learning more about WWII.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    Strong reader.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A User 09-04-12
    A User 09-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A Good Read For History Buffs"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This novel reads in list form, much like a diary. I was hoping for a smoother story line.


    What could Ben MacIntyre have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    There was little dialogue in the novel. This separates the reader from the story.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Madison, WI, United States 08-12-12
    Scott Madison, WI, United States 08-12-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Amazing story"
    Would you listen to Agent Zigzag again? Why?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 05-25-12
    Michael 05-25-12

    Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't wait for the movie"
    If you could sum up Agent Zigzag in three words, what would they be?

    Theif, lover, spy.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It sounds so plausible, it has to be true and what a ride.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The accents are brilliant. The story tone to his voice. The pace is perfect. Could not done better myself.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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