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Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II Paperback – 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 500 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • 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)

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a great read, and a lot of fun into the bargain. This is the story of a little-known British anti-Nazi espionage plan to divert attention from D-Day in Sicily. There has been brief mention of this tale in several books concerning the British spy systems during WWII, But never before have all of the actual real-life details been revealed. If you enjoy reading of the derring-do exploits of some during war time, this is the book for you. If you are interested in the history of WWII, this is the book for you, if you enjoy spy stories- this will suit you to a "T".

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 !
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having read numerous spy novels over the years, I am proud to say that "Operation Mincemeat" is far better than the vast majority. It is riveting, insightful, exciting, and incredibly difficult to put down. The author demonstrates intimate knowledge of his subject matter with exhaustive research and shares his enthusiasm with wit and style. I want to particularly acknowledge the vivid characterizations throughout the book, each of which brings to life a real-life persona, even those with only passing relevance to the story, in a way that adds to the excitement and drama of this successful wartime operation.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I came across this story in the 1950s as a schoolboy reading "The Man who Never Was" and seeing the movie. I didn't think there was much more to tell until I read this book, where a combination of new facts (like the Enigma machine) and Ben Macintyre's easy style made me happy to read it again.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read an occasional spy book for their entertainment value. This one came highly recommended. I enjoyed it, but I did not find it nearly as great as many of the other reviewers.
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.
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