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Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies | [Ben Macintyre]

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy.
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Publisher's Summary

In his celebrated best sellers Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat, Ben Macintyre told the dazzling true stories of a remarkable WWII double agent and of how the Allies employed a corpse to fool the Nazis and assure a decisive victory. In Double Cross, Macintyre returns with the untold story of the grand final deception of the war and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it.

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring that Hitler kept an entire army awaiting a fake invasion, saving thousands of lives, and securing an Allied victory at the most critical juncture in the war.

The story of D-Day has been told from the point of view of the soldiers who fought in it, the tacticians who planned it, and the generals who led it. But this epic event in world history has never before been told from the perspectives of the key individuals in the Double Cross System. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross’s nucleus: a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming and a volatile Frenchwoman, whose obsessive love for her pet dog very nearly wrecked the entire plan. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time.

With the same depth of research, eye for the absurd and masterful storytelling that have made Ben Macintyre an international bestseller, Double Cross is a captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler’s army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the Channel in safety.

©2012 Random House Audio (P)2012 Agentstvo Publishing

What the Critics Say

"Ben Macintyre's spellbinding account features an improbable cast of characters who pulled off a counter-intelligence feat that was breathtaking in its audacity. Their deceptions within deceptions - known as the Double Cross - were critical to the success of the D-Day invasion, and continued to mislead the Germans long after Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. A truly bravura performance, as is Macintyre's fast-paced tale." (Andrew Nagorski, author of Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power)

"Ben Macintyre and I work in the same period, and I should be reading him because he is such a scrupulous and insightful writer - a master historian. But, with Double Cross and his other excellent works, I always wind up reading him for pleasure. Double Cross may be his best yet, falling somewhere between top-class entertainment and pure addiction." (Alan Furst, author of A Mission to Paris)

"[Macintyre] has excelled himself with a cast of extraordinary characters and in his storytelling abilities....Double Cross is an utterly gripping story." Antony Beevor, The Telegraph)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (310 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Trip MONTCLAIR, NJ, United States 08-15-12
    Trip MONTCLAIR, NJ, United States 08-15-12 Member Since 2002

    I love Audiobooks. I listen to roughly 50-100 hours a month. It's a good thing I work for Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A secret history of WWII crossed with Monty Python"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    I love history, especially anything related to WWII. The history of Mi5's Double Cross program was a part of the story that I had never hear. The exploits of this motley crew of misfits reads like a dark comedy, but it all really happened.

    Some moments are as delightfully absurd as a Monty Python sketch, but they are tempered by accounts of amazing acts of heroism that changed the course of history.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    It left me wanting to find more history books that tell these kinds of stories - the anecdotal, very human side of history.


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    His personal descriptions of the players and their quirks really make the book. Some of the details he recounts in the first person quotes are priceless. 'he was a complete shit'


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    Nothing, it was spot on with perfect timing to deliver the best lines with bone-dry english irony.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    If you have an interest in WWII history, spy novels or biographies, you are going to love this one.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 08-14-12
    Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 08-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Worthwhile overall"

    Definitely an intriguing look at a lesser known part of WW2 history. One comes away with the impression that the British were vastly better at the spy game during WW2 than the Nazis, which the facts seem to support. You begin to understand why while reading this book. It showcases some colourful characters whose proclivities made them somewhat undesirable in everyday life but well-suited for the duplicitous life of a double agent. Occasionally I found the story dragged, but only until it shifted to a different character or situation. If you like spy stories or stories from WW2, this is a must.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Annapolis, MD, United States 10-13-12
    Blake Annapolis, MD, United States 10-13-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Worthy Read on the Double Cross System"

    This is Ben Macintyre’s third book covering much the same general topic matter of Britain's spymasters during World War II. His previous books dive deep into the real-life characters of Agent ZigZag and all the colorful members of Britain's MI5 war effort. Many of those same characters return here in Double Cross, but whereas those books are very up close and personal, Double Cross is a bit distant. Perhaps due to the relative lack of historical material to draw from, and certainly from including too many thinly illustrated double and triple agents into the narrative, Double Cross doesn't get the reader as close to the people whose stories are being told as in Macintyre’s other efforts. John lee does a masterful job in reading the words and keeping the story lively. All in all, an enjoyable read, but a bit lackluster compares to Macintyre’s other efforts on the same subjects.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-18-12
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 11-18-12 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "British Mi5 and D-Day"

    Ben MacIntyre took advantage of the recently released secret documents about WW11's spy program. The book is well researched and documented and reads like a novel. The story is about the Nazi spies that Britain turned into double agents to pass misinformation about the possible landing sites for D-Day. They were a Serbian playboy, Polish fighter pilot, bisexual Peruvian party girl, a Frenchwomen, and a Spaniard. The job these few people did saved many allied lives on D-Day. MacIntyre manged to bring to life the role these people had to balance between their Nazi handlers and those from Mi5. The loneliness and fear that each much have had to deal with must have taken a huge toll on them. The British actor John Lee did a good job with the narration. If you enjoy history and WW11 in particular you will find this book fascinating.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hazel Kilworthy, Ontario, Canada 09-25-12
    hazel Kilworthy, Ontario, Canada 09-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Double agents revealed"

    Mr. Macintyre's account of the double agents in WW11 is most interesting and well researched. Unlike "Agent Zigzag" which concentrates pretty much on one man's life and contributions to the war effort, this book is not what I would call "easy listening" by any means however. One must pay attention or soon get lost in an attempt to keep track of the many characters involved, their oddball personalities and the events they participated in. Personally I had to start the book over from the beginning several times before getting a good grasp on each individual's story but then sometimes when listening to an audio book I can get easily distracted, and other listeners may not experience the same problem.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Walnut Creek, CA, United States 09-24-12
    Kathleen Walnut Creek, CA, United States 09-24-12 Member Since 2003
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    "Very interesting information on the war against Hi"
    What did you love best about Double Cross?

    New information on the spies against the third reich (I won't capitalize the name of such an evil empire). It shows that the nazi's didn't have much imagination, except in how to torture and kill unarmed people.


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

    I read what a previous reviewer said about all his accents. I like John Lee as a reader and didn't mind. It could have been tiresome but I just decided to get over it, so I could enjoy the story.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I also ran out to my local book store to look at the pictures of the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are interested in WWII history, this is a must read. I enjoy reading while knitting and feel so productive.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fiona Milton, PA, United States 04-28-14
    Fiona Milton, PA, United States 04-28-14 Member Since 2012

    Radio producer; storyteller; folk historian; and audio book addict...Audio books are the only way that I can fit in all the reading I need and want to do. ...Oh, and I am also British. (Anglo-Welsh).

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "John Lee~ Please BREATHE"

    I love Ben Mcintyre's work. There were one or two historical glitches in the previous book I read (nothing major, something only a Brit steeped in WW2 history might spot); but this book seemed flawless.
    A fascinating story. Worth every dammed moment....and some of the moments were dammed.
    I have a mixed "relationship" with the work of the narrator, John Lee. I have found some of his clipped delivery a little irksome, and then I thought that I had become used to his "clippy" ways (for some inexplicable reason, he is the narrator in many of my favoured books).
    However, in this reading he doesn't "clip" he gallops!
    I've worked with News readers (I work in radio) who trip from one subject to the next without a pause, leaving the audience wondering if they were listening to the same story (The governor is caught up a tree with a cat with his budget??? Really??) ...
    It takes the average mind about a second to absorb, settle; and realise that the subject matter has changed.
    Important, therefore, to pause...otherwise the mind is momentarily confused. Either John Lee wasn't pausing, or one of the editors cut the recording too tightly, not allowing the brain to grasp the point. Over and over again, I found myself momentarily confused, as the scene had changed, but Lee's intonation hadn't given me a clue; which meant that I frequently had to rewind slightly; which was irritating! It took away from an astounding story, well laid out.
    These men and women were fascinating! Not cut-and-paste heroes, they were much flawed, but they were brave, and their story has been written well by Mcintyre.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Sumner, WA, United States 12-03-13
    Andrew Sumner, WA, United States 12-03-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A tale of liars, thieves, corruption and heroes."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Popov and Garbo both have such incredible tales that it boggles the mind.


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

    The excellent use of multiple accents and the impeccable pronunciation of the various names, places and phrases used by five nationalities.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Very much so! It grabs you and does not let go!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Presque Isle, ME, United States 09-10-12
    Richard Presque Isle, ME, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Engaging narrative"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theodore R. Ellis San Francisco, CA 09-01-12
    Theodore R. Ellis San Francisco, CA 09-01-12

    chiefted

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "156,000 men, 4 spies, and one dog."
    What made the experience of listening to Double Cross the most enjoyable?

    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


    What other book might you compare Double Cross to and why?

    Operation Mincemeat.


    What three words best describe John Lee’s performance?

    I do enjoyed that it was read by a "reader" with an english accent.
    Though it did have some draw backs.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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