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Publisher's Summary

Before he remade himself as the master spy known as Garbo, Juan Pujol was nothing more than a Barcelona poultry farmer. But as Garbo, he turned in a masterpiece of deception that changed the course of World War II. Posing as the Nazis’ only reliable spy inside England, he created an imaginary million-man army, invented armadas out of thin air, and brought a vast network of fictional subagents to life. The scheme culminated on June 6, 1944, when Garbo convinced the Germans that the Allied forces approaching Normandy were just a feint - the real invasion would come at Calais. Because of his brilliant trickery, the Allies were able to land with much less opposition and eventually push on to Berlin.

As incredible as it sounds, everything in Agent Garbo is true, based on years of archival research and interviews with Pujol’s family. This pulse-pounding thriller set in the shadow world of espionage and deception reveals the shocking reality of spycraft that occurs just below the surface of history.

©2012 Stephen Talty (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The book presses ever forward down a path of historical marvels and astonishing facts. The effect is like a master class that’s accessible to anyone, and Agent Garbo often reads as though it were written in a single, perfect draft." (The Atlantic)
"Stephan Talty’s unsurpassed research brings forth one of the war’s greatest agents in a must-read book for those who think they know all the great World War II stories." (Gregory Freeman, author of The Forgotten 500)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story
  • Matthew
  • Mill Valley, CA, United States
  • 08-13-13

Good story, writing overly dramatic

What did you like best about Agent Garbo? What did you like least?

The main, real life character (a failed chicken farmer who becomes the most important spy in WWII) is too fantastic not to be true and fascinating to follow (kind of like the one-eyed neurologist with Asperger's in the Big Short).<br/><br/>That said, the writing was too melodramatic. Lots of details/flourishes about scenes were added and seemed somehow artificial or at least unnecessary. The story line is fantastic, these descriptive trimmings weren't necessary

What did you like best about this story?

The main character and the idea that a fairly lone wolf guy could save literally thousands of lives from a windowless office in London during WWII

Any additional comments?

Despite my concerns, it's a good read and well worth reading.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sylvia
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 11-29-16

Awful narration - I am getting the book instead

Any additional comments?

I. was really looking forward to this audiobook. Sometime last year the WSJ Weekend edition had an article on the relatively unknown spies of WW II and "Agent Garbo" seemed fascinating. But I had a headache after 30 minutes of listening. I have never heard a narrator who reads so fast yet manages a monotone so all the words run together at breakneck speed to create a mash of sounds that bury the story. Please reissue this audiobook with a narrator who appreciates his subject.<br/><br/>

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Douglas
  • DENVER, CO, United States
  • 09-11-17

Classic Spy Story But Real, Meaningful

Story, performance flows like an Ian Fleming novel with plenty of suspense, plot twists, mistakes, etc. Yet, all real with historical impact.

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  • William
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 07-03-17

Heroism stranger than fiction!

Would you listen to Agent Garbo again? Why?

Yes. It's so over the top that you it's like something out of Hollywood but it's completely real. It makes you believe that extraordinary selflessness still exists.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Garbo because he's larger than life and yet is someone you would walk by on the street and never notice hi,.

Which scene was your favorite?

All of them?

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Get Garbo: The Greatest Spy

  • Overall
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TRUE SPY BOOK OF THE HIGHEST ORDER

Any additional comments?

Firstly ignored by British intelligence this unbelievable man weaved a web of intrigue so powerful Hitler himself positioned his military on D-Day on the deception spun by Garbo & others. Saving thousands of lives.<br/><br/>The areas of the world he assisted during WW2 owe him a deep debt of gratitude for his help in winning the war. He amazingly created a fantasy network of spies in England and Spain that defies the imagination of the common person and became a double agent fooling the German high command into believing they really were receiving the most secret information on the Allied Command's movements and plans, when it was all pure fabrication. Hitler even awarded him the Iron Cross.<br/><br/>It is a fast read that pulls you back to it time and again until you get to the end. This is a true story and the action and intrigue will keep you glued to this book. <br/><br/>I would also highly recommend Agent Zig Zag, which I feel is an even better book.

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Must buy

Espionage at it's finest. Fantastic, a much for any WW2 buff. 4 words remaining, Dave.

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Narrator needs to work on his German.

This was a well-written story. The narrator has a great voice. My only issue is his German language skill. While he did a decent job with the vocabulary, his emphasis is wrong on almost every German word. It may be a picky point but it makes it a bit challenging for German speakers.

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Great true story of one man that took action.

I think there should be more people like this to better the world. a must read for WW2 studies.

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AMAZING story and expert storyteller

What made the experience of listening to Agent Garbo the most enjoyable?

I was enthralled with the way that Talty weaves the story of secret agent Joan Pujol with the stories of his family, other agents, and the greater historical picture. Talty did a great job of meticulously collecting details and quotes that make you feel like you understand the man behind the Garbo legend.

Any additional comments?

I will definitely be checking out more books by Stephan Talty in the future! It's his insights into the people and their motivations that really draws you into the amazing story.

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A good read

I enjoyed this World War II historical novel and the mostly unknown , but crucial, contribution of Juan puhol Agent Garbo.