In Double Cross, New York Times bestselling author Ben Macintyre returns with the untold story of one of the greatest deceptions of World War II, and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it.
On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring Allied victory at the most pivotal point in the war.
This epic event has never before been told from the perspective of the key individuals in the Double Cross system, until now. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross’s nucleus: a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard, and a volatile Frenchwoman. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time.
With the same depth of research, eye for the absurd and masterful storytelling that have made Ben Macintyre an international bestseller, Double Cross is a captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler’s army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the Channel in safety.
It would be hard to imagine any narrator doing a better job with the rich material contained in this true-life thriller than John Lee does in this audio edition. Macintyre is a master of the art of digesting massive amounts of material and winnowing out the details that matter. He's done just that in this riveting account of the British Double-Cross System, which waged a covert disinformation campaign against the Nazis to maximize the chances of victory on D-Day. The account proves that truth is stranger than fiction, and the twists in the story and the eccentricities of the characters present the narrator with a serious challenge: he must convince the listener to accept that these events and people were real. For the duration of the audiobook, Lee knocks it out of the park, proving equally adept in voicing action scenes and bizarre incidents. His deadpan, dry delivery allows the material to speak for itself. The result is an entertaining and unforgettable listen. A Crown hardcover.
If they taught history the way Ben Macintyre and Kenneth Davis write about it.Things would improve dramatically and proving that history when told right is both compelling and stranger than any fiction that Hollywood could dream up.
I thought I was pretty well versed in the machinations leading up to the invasion, but I clearly knew nothing whatever. This reads like a Clancy novel but is so much richer, more nuanced, and it’s all true. Characters like these would test credibility in fiction. The fact that they were all as eccentric and talented as they were creates a sense of wonder.