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
"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)
I love Audiobooks. I listen to roughly 50-100 hours a month. It's a good thing I work for Audible!
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.
It left me wanting to find more history books that tell these kinds of stories - the anecdotal, very human side of history.
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'
Nothing, it was spot on with perfect timing to deliver the best lines with bone-dry english irony.
If you have an interest in WWII history, spy novels or biographies, you are going to love this one.
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.
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.
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.
This narrator has read several well known books and I am sure is loved by many. I, however, found his attempt at accents to be irritating. So irritating in fact that I stopped listening to the book.
No, but I won't listen to any other books read by this narrator.
His use of accents seemed strained and it detracted from the reading rather than adding to it.
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.
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.
Yes. I also ran out to my local book store to look at the pictures of the characters.
If you are interested in WWII history, this is a must read. I enjoy reading while knitting and feel so productive.
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.
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.
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