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on October 25, 2014
After reading numerous writings and biographies on WWII, I could never really understand why the Nazis kept their reserves entrenched at Pas de Calais instead of reinforcing its troops at Normandy. I understood that massive deception was involved, but it didn't seem to explain the magnitude of the blunder. The story of Garbo, though more incredible than the blunder itself, finally gives the backdrop and substance I was missing.

I recommend this book most highly to anyone curious about how the Allies succeeded at Normandy. I believe Garbo and his fellow agents were responsible for not only the delay of the German reserves, but the thin line between failure and success at D-Day. Failure would have cost hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides and a prolonged ending to the war.

Most believe that D-Day success was inevitable due to the sheer force of the invasion. This book explains just how close failure of the Allies loomed and how Garbo and his fellow agents made all the difference. Eisenhower said Garbo was worth an entire Division of troops. This is a huge understatement. This story makes clear that Garbo and the ruse to attack Pas de Calais were an entire Army that pinned down German reinforcements to Normandy.
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on July 3, 2012
Regardless one's interest level in WWII, D-Day and espionage, the author packs so many great punches into Garbo's story that it's sure to brighten up anyone's summer "must-reading" list. This is an incredible story of an ex-chicken farmer in Spain finally fed up with fascism, who couldn't convince the British to let him spy and finally resorted to the Germans so that he could turn double-agent. Garbo's story, never before told at such length and with fine detail, reveals courage, intelligence, luck, pluck, love, truth, deception and whatever lies in-between. It is an inspiring tale...and all true.

Author Stephan Talty wisely chooses not to tell the story in a strictly linear, chronological fashion, giving the book the feel of a novel. Also to the book's credit, Talty supplies a cast of characters to help follow the players; list of organizations; an appendix breaking down Garbo's vast phalanx of fictitious agents the Germans thought he was utilizing; detailed source notes showing heavy reliance on unique primary materials; helpful photos, and more to make this captivating story totally engaging for all. Since Garbo's own "Autobiography" long has been suspect (he never mentioned he was married!---let alone that he would have given up trying to spy but for his wife's efforts), to have at long last a reliable and documented account of Juan Pujol and compan(ies) is a real treat.

We will have an "abundance of riches" on this subject this summer. At the end of this month, Ben Macintyre's new book, "Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies" (Garbo was one of a core nucleus of six) will appear in the US, following his remarkable "Agent Zigzag" and "Operation Mincemeat." Plenty of room for both; make way on one's list!
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on November 16, 2017
The art of war is not revealed until all elements contributing to the conduct of the battles, politics and terrain are revealed and discussed. Normandy was one of the most important battles of that war and likely its success would not have been possible but for the successful creativity of Agent Garbo.
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on September 21, 2012
To reach middle age and learn that there was an individual who influenced the Allied success in WWII as much as Churchill, Eisenhower, and Truman was an unexpected surprise. To further learn that this individual remained largely anonymous not only during the war, but for decades afterward, was mind-blowing. I cannot imagine accomplishing one's life work, which arguably saved the free world, and receiving no credit or accolades. But Garbo did that. A self-taught spy hailing from a country that wasn't even truly a part of the war, this is a hero in history that all school children should learn about. Garbo deserves posterity! Oh, the book can be complicated to read--after all, this is a complicated story of a complicated feat. It's truly between 4 and 5 stars, but I'd rather rate it highly because it needs to be read. Any lover of history will be engrossed by this story of the man who did so much to aid the Allies in their quest to defeat Hitler.
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on February 28, 2018
pieces of this story appear in a number of WW-II spy books. Heye it is skillfully and engrossingly assembled from head to tail, all in one place.
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on February 8, 2014
This book reads like a best seller spy novel and yet provides a great amount of info for anyone interested in wartime or cold war espionage studies! What a fantastic true story and put together by an expert well known for his thorough treatment of the subject. Even if you're not into spycraft/WW2 history, I think you'd this book fascinating and hard to put down. Nigel West doesn't get in the way of Garbo telling his story and only enhances the telling of it with up-to-date, now declassified material. I think there should be at least a mini-series or a movie based on this story!
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on September 30, 2014
Agent Garbo was one of the world's most amazing human beings. His creativity and imagination took him to heights most of us only dream about. The area of the world he assisted during the war owes him a deep debt of gratitude for his help in winning World War II. He 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. 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. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys creativity and action.
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on July 24, 2016
It was very good in terms of information about a person who gets very little publicity for his role in the war, but it was not as exciting as I would have liked.
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on July 7, 2017
This book reads like fiction but presents an acurate account of perhaps one of the most amazing instances of military deception ever. Highly recommended for those who think they know everything about WWII.
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on September 11, 2017
This is an amazing story about an event during WWII that I never heard about before. What an interesting man. I highly recommend this book.
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