- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury; 1st edition (2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408806002
- ISBN-13: 978-1408806005
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 8.5 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (500 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,328,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II Paperback – 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The tale begins inauspiciously enough with the combination of a poor Welsh laborer and aristocratic MI5 officers, it proceeds through a poor Spanish fisherman and the halls of power in Germany to Hitler's desk! The results of all of this chicanery are astonishing, resulting in a triumph for the Allied forces that leads to a successful invasion of Italy.
This tale encompasses stolen bodies, massive cover-ups by the British government, a veritable warren of European spies, and a submarine. The book is well written and consuming, the type of book that one reads in 1 day, because one can not bear to put it down until all plot twists are revealed. The review copy did not have many illustrations, but I would imagine that the final book itself will be well-provided with images of the protagonists, doesn't matter- the book grips you with vivid descriptions and thumbnail sketches of it's own.
For all WWII buffs, lovers of European history, spy thriller fans and many others, this is the book for you. Hugely recommended !
The author assumes at the start that most readers have heard of "Operation Mincemeat" and know the basics. However, not being an World War II enthusiast of any sort, I knew nothing of this story prior to picking up this book. Setting aside any apprehension, I dove straight in, and I don't regret a moment of the time spent soaking up all of the vivid details. I can safely say that even war history novices with no prior knowledge of this bold World War II intelligence operation will never be lost or confused. This is remarkable non-fiction storytelling at its finest, and I would not hesitate to recommend this title to everyone.
In 1943 the Allies were victorious in Africa, driving Rommel's Afrika Corps back to Italy. The next step was to invade some part of Europe, and "Operation Husky" was to take the fight to Italy. The Allies deluded the Nazis into thinking that the main attack on Sicily was just a diversion, and that the attack would fall on Greece and Corsica. Troops and weapons would be stationed in other places than Sicily, so the invasion would meet less resistance.
The plan was outrageous, and the central figure was a dead man. The British made the Germans believe that this was a courier whose plane had crashed off the Southern Atlantic coast of Spain. Spain was ostensibly neutral, but there was a strong Nazi diplomatic presence and many Nazi sympathizers in Spain's bureaucracy. The Spanish officials, it was hoped, would let the Germans copy letters in the dead man's briefcase, and forward their finding to Berlin.
The story moves from London to Wales (where the dead man came from), to Scotland where he was placed on a submarine which released the body off the Spanish coast. As the story unfolds, Ben Macintyre describes the scene and is particularly good at portraying the major characters. It would be very easy to slip into stereotypical Allied and Nazi personalities, but Macintyre shows that the cast comprises a part-Jewish German officer and an English racing car driver, and you soon get the feeling that you know these people.Read more ›
It is the true story of a spy caper that is credited with diverting Hitler's attention away from the Allies invading Sicily in 1943. It is the same incident that was dramatized in an earlier book called "The Man Who Never Was," which was also turned into a movie back in the 50's. The author presents some new details these 50 years on that were suppressed in the original due to security considerations at the time.
There are certainly some interesting characters involved, including some of the leading lights of the British MI5 & MI6 operation. Ian Fleming makes a brief, but pivotal appearance, as do the real life inspirations for his "M" and "Q" characters in the James Bond novels. Kim Philby and Winston Churchill also make cameo appearances.
The gist of the spy story is the British secret service dropped a dead body off the coast of Spain rigged with phony letters designed to put the German army off the scent of the upcoming invasion of Sicily. The fact that this crackpot scheme worked certainly makes a good story. As in all books of this type, the British triumph, so there's not much in the way of suspense. There was a great deal of spycraft necessary to make this work that is elaborated in great detail, and there is certainly a lot of spying going on.
One of the more interesting ideas mentioned in the book was that the gambit's success may have hinged on the willingness on the head of the German intelligence effort, someone named von Renne, to swallow this "fish" story, not because he believed the story, but because he figured it for a plant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a recommendation of a friend. It was more detailed ,thus confusing, than I was interested in. Read morePublished 7 days ago by al
I cannot get enough of Ben Macintyre's work. His style is dryly witty, which matches the subject matter. His research seems through, although I have not independently verified it. Read morePublished 16 days ago by RyanM
We both really enjoyed this fascinating story. I wish these types of stories were shared with us when in school. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Josie
A brilliant move the US made that was a turning point of. WWll.Published 1 month ago by Mary Jean Kriegel
Somewhat formulaic in that it focuses on an event then turns to a new personality in the event, explores him or her and repeat. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. M Ullman
Extraordinary tale told my a master writer. Had never heard about this story before and would be hard pressed to believe that 1) this ever happened and 2) that it had such a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by E.B.