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)
An amazing story that is full of memorable and admirable characters. It's not an action-packed thriller but is compelling in its own way. Anyone who knows the history of WWII and enjoys the stories of real-life conmen should enjoy the book. John Lee is a wonderful narrator.
I loved the story and the fact that it's true. The narrator was very good and the story was compelling. I liked Eddie Chapman very much and can see why others found him so attractive and charismatic.
That a common criminal could also be courageous and patriotic. Eddie Chapman embodied the perfect con man; he convinced the Nazis that he was a true spy for them, at the same time he was spying for England. I didn't want to put the narrative down. I am ready to read Ben MacIntyre's other book, "Operation Mincemeat". He's a compelling story teller.
Yes. He pursues the story chronologically, with tales about each part of Eddie's life, from his jail time in the Isle of Jersey to his time in France and Germany, and so on.
I'm not sure about "moved" me, but I was disillusioned with the M15 for allowing Eddie to be dismissed in so cavalier way after all he did for England.
Wow! This is one of the best books I've come across so far. A "can't stop listening" jewel.
I was searching action/adventure and sampled all the big hit writers Then I found the review on this book and dove in. I tell you folks, truth is better than fiction. Also, there are interviews with Eddie Chapman on youtube and a brief synopsis by the author. This self educated gentleman "crook", who loved to blow up safe's makes me really wonder what this man was made up of. This is the find of the day for me.
Yes, given time to digest the first pass.
The main character, very interesting personality and real too
John Lee is one of my favorite performers; another winner here.
The suspense wasn't so great that I wanted to finish it all in one sitting but parts were seizing.
I listen to books on my long commute.
If you have an interest in World War II and insights into one spy, this is a good book.
I don't tire of John Lee's voice.
This is a compelling story that humanizes the spy like no other espionage tale I've encountered.
Nicely narrated, too.
A fascinating true account of a British double agent during World War II. About as close to a real life James Bond as you can get, and possibly inspirational as Ian Fleming was friends with Zigzag before he began writing the 007 series. The availability of the MI5 files results in a great mix of criminal escapades, spy adventures, and personality insights.
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought that the narration was excellent also. The main character was not exactly admirable, (well, OK he was a bank robber on the lam, a rake and a womanizer) but he was a person who was driven to seek excitement and danger in every aspect of his life. Tremendously smart and resourceful, the situations that he was able to negotiate were nothing short of astounding. Mr. Campbell (Agent Zigzag) seems to be a person born with the innate drive and skills to be a successful spy. The book is extensively documented, even down to transcribed conversations with Mr. Campbell talking to his British handlers. Quite a yarn!
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