- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307453286
- ISBN-13: 978-0307453280
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 565 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – April 5, 2011
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Praise for the U.S. edition:
"Here, finally, is the complete story with its full cast of characters (not a dull one among them), pure cathnip to fans of World War II thrillers and a lot of fun for everyone else."
—Joseph Kanon, Washington Post Book World
"Brilliant and almost absurdly entertaining…The cast of characters involved in Mincemeat, as the caper was called, was extraordinary, and Macintyre tells their stories with gusto."
—Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
"OPERATION MINCEMEAT is utterly, to employ a dead word, thrilling. But to call it thus is to miss the point slightly in terms of admiring it properly….What makes OPERATION MINCEMEAT so winning, in addition to Mr. Macintyre’s meticulous research and the layers of his historical understanding, is his elegant, jaunty, and very British high style."
—Dwight Garner, New York Times
"Macintyre, whose previous book chronicled the incredible exploits of Eddie Chapman, the crook turned spy known as Zigzag, excels at this sort of twisted narrative….Great fun."
—Jennet Conant, New York Times Book Review
"A nearly flawless true-life picaresque…zeroes in on one of the few times in war history when excessive literary imagination, instead of hobbling a clandestine enterprise, worked beyond its authors’ wildest dream….Almost inedibly rich with literary truffles—doppelgangers, obsession, transgression, self-fashioning….It is hard to oversate how cinematic this story really was."
"Another true WWII tale that reads like something by Ian Fleming….the fullest account yet."
"London Times writer-at-large Macintyre offers a solid and entertaining updating of WWII's best-known 'human intelligence' operation....[and] recounts [the] adventures and misadventures with panache."
"[An] edge-of-your-seat history....unveiling previously classified files and even unearthing living witnesses to the grand conspiracy."
"This retelling of a well-known part of World War II espionage history will appeal to military history buffs, especially those new to this particular episode, and to readers of adventure fiction, who will find it hard to put down."
#1 Sunday Times [London] Bestseller
Praise for the UK edition:
"A terrific book….Students of the second world war have been familiar with Mincemeat for many years, but Macintyre offers a mass of new detail, and enchanting pen portraits of the British, Spanish and German participants. His book is a rollicking read for all those who enjoy a spy story so fanciful that Ian Fleming—himself an officer in Montagu’s wartime department—would never have dared to invent it."
—Max Hastings, The Sunday Times [London]
"A chillingly good book….Macintyre has taken a well-known story of wartime deception, embellished it, and shown that it was even more ingenious and even more risky than we had all supposed."
"Fascinating ... The complexities and consequences of the story that Macintyre tells in OPERATION MINCEMEAT are compelling – a tribute to his impressive abilities as a sleuth (ones that we’ve witnessed in his previous books) and to his capacities as a writer. He has the instincts of a novelist rather than a historian when it comes to elision , exposition, narrative and pace, and is depiction of character is vividly alive to nuance and idiosyncrasy. Like the best novelists, he understands that all people are fundamentally individual – odd and unique to themselves – and that stereotypes exist only in bad fiction, whether on the page or on screen."
—William Boyd, The Times [London]
"Ben Macintyre turns up trumps in this rollicking tale of a second world war mission to dupe the Germans by using a corpse bearing fictional military plans ... The cast of characters is irresistible, and Macintyre’s enthusiasm for them richly merited ... a terrific book with exceptional photographs of everybody, including the corpse. Students of the second world war have been familiar with Mincemeat for many years, but Macintyre offers a mass of new detail, and enchanting pen portraits of the British, Spanish and German participants. His book is a rollicking read for all those who enjoy a spy story so fanciful that Ian Fleming – himself an officer in Montagu’s wartime department – would never have dared to invent it."
—Max Hastings, The Sunday Times [London]
"Macintyre has a journalist’s nose for a great story, and a novelist’s skill in its narration. If anything, Operation Mincemeat is even more spellbinding than his previous story of wartime espionage, Agent Zigzag, with a cast-list every bit as dotty and colourful ... Macintyre is a master of the thumbnail character sketch."
—Craig Brown, ‘Book of the Week’, The Mail on Sunday
"The Times's associate editor, Ben Macintyre, also the author of the acclaimed Agent Zigzag, is fast becoming a one-man industry in these updated tales of cunning, bravery and skulduggery. With his mix of meticulous research and a good hack's eye for narrative, it is hard to think of a better guide to keep beckoning us back to that fascinating world ... In the story of the homeless Welsh vagrant, Glyndwr Michael, whose body proved so much more worthwhile in death than in life, there is enough pathos and tragedy to remind you that you're reading real life-or-death stuff, influencing the outcome of the entire war, rather than enjoying a rollicking novel, rollicking though the book often is. There's romance, and glamour, and even the splendidly named Sir Bentley Purchase, the cheerfully black-humoured coroner of St Pancras who (illegally) colluded in the procurement of the body. It's hard not to feel, sometimes, that you are reading of impossibly distant times, when men, even dead men, were real men, rather than overgrown toddlers ... The shock is not that this all happened, but that it wasn't so very long ago."
—The Observer [London]
"Ben Macintyre skilfully breathes life into the diverse cast of characters involved in the plan, imaginatively fleshing out the colourful personalities on both sides ... a diverting account of a pivotal moment in history."
About the Author
BEN MACINTYRE is a writer-at-large for The Times of London and the bestselling author of A Spy Among Friends, Double Cross, Operation Mincemeat, and Agent Zigzag, among other books. Macintyre has also written and presented BBC documentaries of his work.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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What's particularly interesting is how the author shows you that the UK intelligence people were thinking very hard about how the enemy thinks. Starting there - like with Hitler's paranoia about a possible British landing at Greece or thereabouts - they could really "sell" the idea of Mincemeat to the Germans. The fact that the whole plan hinged on the ostensibly neutral Spanish makes it even more astonishing that the thing worked.
A story about a different kind of warfare. Very entertaining and human. It's amazing that it's true.
That said, I must add how much I enjoyed reading a bit of history that gets swept under the broad-brush treatment we normally get in viewing world events. It brings to mind the saying of the stage: there's no such thing as small parts, only small actors. Macintyre admits that the Sicily invasion could have been done without this one piece of deception and that no one can prove it had an impact. However, he makes a very strong case for the importance of it. I found how detailed they were in faking their ruse very fascinating. Watching how committed the Germans were to believing the ruse simply because they wanted to surpassed the work that went into creating the lie.
Operation Mincemeat was like reading a mystery that let you know the who the perpetrator was at the beginning and let you accompany him as he developed the intrigue and misleading clues. It's entertaining, astounding, and enlightening. I am now wondering where to go to get to the truth of what is happening in world, national, and even local events.
Even with the twists and quirks, the scheme has a happy ending unless you were rooting for the Third Reich. It's a great story told by a great storyteller.