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Agent ZigZag (Agent ZigZag Love Traitor Hero) Audio CD – 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 447 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752890522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752890524
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 4.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (447 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,467,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Over and over through the years as I've read books about real life spies ("Comrade" Kim Philby and Sidney Reilly among others) I've been struck by how much more amazing these non-fiction stories were than those concocted as would-be pulp fiction thrillers. I've also been struck at how all the best spies were anything but good people, and they shared traits of cruelty and self-love that bordered on sociopathic narcissism. Ben Macintyre's biography of Eddie Chapman gives us a man who continues that dubious tradition. This page-turner is fact-filled and well-written and the life it tells of outdoes anything fiction has cranked out in quite a while. It's a very enjoyable read that presented the history of someone I personally had never heard of before I was introduced to him in this book.

Eddie Chapman was no James Bond or even a Sidney Reilly, but he was one of the boldest, most brazen con men ever to serve a nation or a cause, and in so doing he found some redemption from the wrongs of his earlier life. From his days as a roguish charmer who infiltrated high society and first infatuated and later blackmailed rich women in the most callous and base ways imaginable, this safecracker, thief and extortionist found himself sprung by the Germans early in the war when he was then serving a fifteen-year sentence in an English prison in the Channel Islands.

The charismatic Chapman, as liked by his German liberators as by those who'd known him back home, was then recruited by the Nazis as a spy who agreed to do their bidding and sabotage a British aircraft factory in Hertfordshire. He parachuted back onto his native soil during the busy Christmas season of 1942, only to prove his ultimate loyalty by going to the British and offering to in turn spy on the Germans.
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Format: Hardcover
This highly entertaining and utterly gripping book is the true story of Eddie Chapman, a British petty criminal who ended up serving as an spy for both England and Germany during World War 2, and who was hailed as a hero by both sides. "Agent Zigzag" is the name that he was given by the British authorities who were aware of his status as a double agent and used him to feed misinformation to the Germans.

Chapman's story is so full of adventure and ripe with coincidence that would be unbelievable if it were a novel. The story of how he comes to be an agent for the Germans is in itself worthy of a movie, taking us from a bank robbery in Scotland to prison - and eventual freedom - on the island of Jersey and then incarceration in the worst of Parisian prisons.

Chapman emerges as a kind of James Bond character: a handsome and charming rogue with a penchant for adventure, for gambling, fine food and fast women. He is a fascinating mass of contradictions: utterly loyal to his friends even as he betrays them, a hopeless criminal who develops into a resourceful spy. But even the minor characters leap off the pages in this tale. The photographs are also well chosen and add to the story.

Ben MacIntyre has amassed a vast amount of detail about not only Chapman, but his associates in both the German and English secret services. There is lots of interesting information about how those secret services functioned and what they achieved during the war. I was particularly riveted by the details about his training in spy techniques by the Nazis. However the book never gets bogged down in historical facts. Like the best biographies, it reads almost like fiction. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Ah, the story of Eddie Chapman; long awaited and finally produced (actually two of them on the same day, but the thrust of "Zigzag" by Booth ruled it out for me.) I had read Masterman's "The Double-Cross System in the War from 1939 to 1945" which gave Chapman six pages, seen the movie "Triple-Cross", and wondered what the story really was. The movie bore no resemblance to the truth as usual, but finding out the truth in spy stories is always a realm where educated guess and conjecture must fill in the frustrating blanks. Chapman's story rings true in every respect and well worth the read over the 2-4 nights it provides.

Earlier reviewers have exalted or condemned Chapman, so allow me to state that essentially all spies/agents have a screw loose and a yen for danger, excitement and feeling special. They operate with governmental assistance well above the law -- a heady role that must in itself be its own reward. Few if any spies for western democracies have been justly rewarded for their endeavors, as such rewards are generally denied under the rubric of maintaining security. Most ex-agents are relegated to obscurity and penury while some are "terminated with extreme prejudice" (killed) if they are considered as security risks. In this respect, working for a totalitarian government like that in the old USSR has its rewards, as they tend to resettle ex-agents in government positions. There is something about a democracy that makes a spy untrustworthy to the public and unworthy of its respect. As such, Chapman was no exception.

Agent handlers or case officers are usually like Ryde, Chapman's last British handler -- bureaucrats playing it safe and willing to sacrifice their agents.
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