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Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies Paperback – May 14, 2013


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Frequently Bought Together

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies + Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal + A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 399 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307888770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307888778
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (363 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: What do a Polish pilot, a Peruvian party girl, and a Spanish chicken maven have in common? They were all central to the success of Operation Fortitude, the audacious ruse that kept Hitler guessing over the location of the D-Day invasions, saving the lives of countless Allied soldiers and turning the war in their favor. In the same enthralling and entertaining fashion of his previous World War II spy stories (Agent Zigzag, Operation Mincemeat), Ben Macintyre's Double Cross goes behind the standard narratives of armies, generals, and tactics to chronicle the unlikely--and occasionally outlandish--stories of the spooks, spymasters, and double agents that changed the course of the war. --Jon Foro
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Gripping stories from the perspective of a remarkable ragtag group of spies who tricked the Nazis in an astounding D-Day deception.  Puts other spy tales to shame.” People

“It should be said loud and clear that Macintyre is a supremely gifted storyteller. He spins quite a yarn. His books are absurdly entertaining. I would kill for his keen wit. He takes us into a world of bounders, spivs, roués, and men (and women) on the make….Double Cross is a blast.”
Boston Globe

“Forget fiction when you are buying beach reading this summer. Ben Macintyre’s factual account is more gripping than what you will find anywhere else. It is a story unsurpassed in the long history of intelligence.”
Washington Times

“Macintyre at once exalts and subverts the myths of spycraft, and has a keen eye for absurdity.”
New Yorker

“[A] complex, absorbing final installment in his trilogy about World War II espionage….Macintyre is a master storyteller.  Employing a wry wit and a keen eye for detail, he delivers an ultimately winning tale fraught with European intrigue and subtle wartime heroics.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Superb….the story comes alive again in all its stupendous, unimaginable duplicity.…intensely readable”
Washington Post

“A wonderfully entertaining story of deception and trickery that is told with verve and wit….Macintyre’s early books about espionage in World War II have been bestsellers, and this will be no exception.”
Christian Science Monitor

“Macintyre revels in the surreal aspects of his story, writing with a breezy, almost tongue-in-cheek style. But the author is also adept at communicating the seriousness and the stakes of the underlying game….Nail-biting and chuckle-inducing reading.”
Columbus Dispatch

“Another captivating, improbably fresh story of World War II….Double Cross is ennobling, invigorating and, above all, entertaining. Macintyre's research is impressive, as is his ability to shape disparate facts into a breathless page-turner….Throw in nail-biting suspense and the occasional decadent Nazi (fickle mistress optional) and, with Macintyre in charge, you're virtually guaranteed a history book that reads like a spy novel.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch

“It is the riveting tales of these agents on which Ben Macintyre focuses, to full advantage, in Double Cross….Macintyre makes good use of the material. He knows how to let the high drama unfold on its own.”
Wall Street Journal

“London Times writer Macintyre (Agent Zigzag, Operation Mincemeat) concludes his WWII espionage trilogy with the tantalizing tale of an oddball, ‘Dirty Dozen’-like group of double agents who fool the Nazis into believing the Allied D-Day attack would come at Calais, not Normandy.”
New York Post, Required reading

A tale of smarts, personal courage and — even knowing what happened on June 6, 1944 — suspense.  Where would we be if these troubled, eccentric and hang-it-all characters hadn't known how to lie, and lie well?”
Seattle Times

“As in his earlier best-sellers about WWII-era spycraft, Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat, Macintyre writes with novelistic flair.”
Entertainment Weekly

“The story of D-Day – when 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy – as it’s never been told before….this amazing story shows how double agents and spies tricked the German army and saved thousands of Allied lives.”
New York Post

“Only with author Ben Macintyre’s scintillating account has this complex human drama, with all its tortuous twists and turns, finally received the cinematic treatment it deserves….This is edge-of-the seat stuff.”
WWII Magazine

“Macintyre does a fine job depicting this extraordinary cast and exposing the ambiguous world of espionage....compelling.”
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History

“With the same skill and suspense he displayed in Operation Mincemeat and Agent Zigzag….Macintyre effortlessly weaves the agents’ deliciously eccentric personalities with larger wartime events to shape a tale that reads like a top-notch spy thriller.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Macintyre has written a tense, exciting real-life spy story that illuminates a largely obscure aspect of WWII.”
Booklist

“With his latest book, Double Cross, Ben Macintyre tells the astonishing true story of a bizarre group of misfit spies who played a critical role in the success of D-Day.  The stories in this book, many of which have never before been told, are nothing short of incredible.  Skillfully woven together, they form one of the most gripping narratives I have ever read.”
Candice Millard, author of The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic

“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

"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

"How on earth, in 1944, did we dupe Berlin that we would attack the coast of France in completely the wrong place?  It was a deception that saved tens of thousands of Allied lives.  In Double Cross, Ben Macintyre ingeniously explains exactly how it was done."
Frederick Forsyth
 
"Never before revealed facts about the workings of the Intelligence Service in the build up to D-Day in the Second World War.  Ben Macintyre's remarkable book is a gripping revelation."
Jack Higgins

“[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

“Enthralling....Macintyre is a master at leading the reader down some very tortuous paths while ensuring they never lose their bearings. He’s terrific, too, at animating his characters with the most succinct of touches....gripping.”
London Evening Standard

More About the Author

BEN MACINTYRE is writer-at-large and associate editor of the Times of London. He is the author of Agent Zigzag, The Man Who Would Be King, The Englishman's Daughter, The Napoleon of Crime, and Forgotten Fatherland. He lives in London with his wife, the novelist Kate Muir, and their three children.

Customer Reviews

This book was an interesting read.
Janice Ottley
Double Cross tells the amazing story of how British Intelligence used German spies to convince the Nazis that the D-Day landings would be everywhere but Normandy.
john stephens
The author does a great job of writing the story, letting the characters speak for themselves when needed, and filling in the details.
D. Lamb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 178 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Before you begin reading this book, take a look at the map at the very front. It's a map of northern France and southern England. Notice how close the cities of Dover and Calais are; the sea distance is about 21 miles. Meanwhile, continue west to the widest gap between France and England which is about 100 miles. That's the distance between Portsmouth, England and the five Normandy beaches. Those 100 miles were crossed by the American, British, and Canadian forces on June 6, 1944 - D-Day. Why the Allied forces chose to set the invasion on this particular plot of land in France, reachable after an all-night trip from England, is the topic of many other books about WW2. This book, "Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies" by Ben MacIntyre, is the story of how British intelligence worked to make the Germans think the imminent invasion would occur at Calais, rather than Normandy.

By 1942 the smart money in Germany was on an invasion on the European continent in France or Scandinavia by Allied forces. It was thought to be both inevitable and somewhat imminent. The time factor was based on many things, including build-up of invasion forces, the war effort in other European theater sites, and, of course, the geography of France. Just looking at a map shows the shortest distance was from Dover in Kent to Calais - as I wrote before, about 21 miles. Hitler and the German High Command were expecting the invasion in that area, and had mined the beaches and inner area in preparation for repelling an invasion. There were many troops stationed in the area, too. But, the Germans also mined and prepared the Normandy beaches with the same mines and hill top fortifications, though not as many as in Calais and they also had fewer troops stationed in Normandy.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Anyone who has read anything by Ben Macintyre before, including the excellent Operation Mincemeat and Agent Zigzag will know that they are in for a treat. He is a wonderful storyteller and, in this book, he is on territory he seems to understand brilliantly and relish. The Allied military planners were working on the the great assault on Nazi Occupied Europe - the D-Day invasion would decide the outcome of the war. In order to convince the Germans that the invasion was coming where it was not actually coming, and not coming in the place where it was actually coming, a huge amount of effort was expended. There were dummy planes, tanks and even dummy armies in place to fool the Germans. There were even pigeons masquerading as German carrier pigeons (lots more on pigeons in the book - they play a larger part than you might imagine!). There were impersonators to convince the Germans that military leaders were elsewhere. Counterfeit generals led non-existent armies. Radio operators created a barrage of fake signals. Finally, there were spies. The Allies had a harder task than it appears in hindsight, knowing that it succeeded, as the target range for a cross-Channel invasion was small. There were only a handful of suitable spots for a massed landing and it was important that the entire might of the German forces were not waiting when the Allies landed.

Tar Robertson created a bodyguard of liars - the "Double Cross System" coordinated by the Twenty (XX) Committee. They specialised in turning German spies into double agents.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I used to think all those spy novels and movies were wildly exagerrated and that crazy stunts and bizarrely convoluted plotting didn't go on in real life. That was before I started reading Ben Macintyre's histories of espionage performed by the British during World War II, including Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat among others. Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies, is Macintyre's latest offering and his best yet. Just imagine the most implausible twists and turns in a spy novel, then rest assured that something much weirder actually did take place during the World War II years.

In the early 1940s Britain's situation looked pretty desperate as she faced a triumphant Third Reich. Fortunately, along with all the pluck and perseverance we know the British people showed in "their finest hour" they also had a team of highly intelligent, extremely imaginative and creative, not to mention downright devious, men and women hard at work in MI5 and MI6. Their job was to identify German spies within Great Britain, turn them if possible into double agents, and then use them to mislead the Germans as to Allied intentions.

The stories Macintyre relates are fascinating. At one point the British actually had the Abwehr (German military intelligence) funding British efforts to undermine Germany's spy networks! Some of Germany's most trusted and apparently reliable spies in Britain were actually feeding disinformation to them! Eventually the British efforts spread to the US, where the FBI's anti-espionage efforts were laughably feeble in comparison.
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