NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES • NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
“Pure catnip to fans of World War II thrillers and a lot of fun for everyone else.” —Joseph Kanon, The Washington Post Book World
The “brilliant and almost absurdly entertaining” (Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker) true story of the most successful—and certainly the strangest—deception ever carried out in World War II, from the acclaimed author of The Spy and the Traitor.
Near the end of World War II, two British naval officers came up with a brilliant and slightly mad scheme to mislead the Nazi armies about where the Allies would attack southern Europe. To carry out the plan, they would have to rely on the most unlikely of secret agents: a dead man.
Ben Macintyre’s dazzling, critically acclaimed bestseller chronicles the extraordinary story of what happened after British officials planted this dead body—outfitted in a British military uniform with a briefcase containing false intelligence documents—in Nazi territory, and how this secret mission fooled Hitler into changing military positioning, paving the way for the Allies’ drive to victory.
London Times writer-at-large Macintyre (Agent Zigzag) offers a solid and entertaining updating of WWII s best-known human intelligence operation. In 1943, British intelligence conceived a spectacular con trick to draw German attention away from the Allies obvious next objective, Sicily. The bait was a briefcase full of carefully forged documents attached to the wrist of Major William Martin, Royal Marines a fictitious identity given to a body floated ashore in neutral Spain. Making the deception plausible was the task given to two highly unconventional officers: Lt. Comdr. Ewen Montagu and Squadron Leader Charles Cholmondeley. Macintyre recounts their adventures and misadventures with panache. The body was that of a derelict. Its costuming included the underwear of a deceased Oxford don. An attractive secretary provided the photo of an imaginary fianc e. The carefully constructed documents setting up the bogus operation against Greece and Sardinia convinced even Hitler himself. The Sicily landings were achieved as almost a complete surprise. And the man who never was entered the history and folklore of WWII. Photos.