WW II European Theatre + spies = one of my fav topics.
However, this was a slog of a read.
I think due to too many characters ...and same person has several names + nothing much (ish) happens throughout the middle of the book. As much as I love this topic, even I was bored and thought the author dragged on too much.
And now that I think about it, did we get a “what ended up happening to each spy”? I don’t think so. I guess there you go...I finished the audio book just a few hours ago and have already forgotten and/or lost interest after D Day.
NOTE: The Spy and the Traitor by this author is fantastic. It will be on my Top 10 list this year. A Spy Among Friends is also 5 stars.
This is very well researched book. The irony is that during the Second World War, when there were so much hardship, including food rationing, these spies had lived a rather extravagant life style. Truly amazing.
This is a story about the five key double cross spies (and about the mysterious sixth spy) who spent years deceiving the Germans into believing the D-Day invasion would take place at the Pas-de-Calais and Norway and not at Normandy. Truly an intricate, strong and eventually successful web of deception. Macintyre outlines how this very unusual crop of spies controlled and manipulated every single German agent and were turned by MI5 into double agents. In Churchill's own words it was "tangle within tangle, plot and counter-plot, ruse and false agent, cross and double-cross, true agent, false agent ... all woven into a texture so intricate as to be incredible and yet true." This sting, called Operation Fortitude, was truly ingenious even though the Aberwhr itself was riddled with incompetence, corruption and anti-Hitler sentiment. Perhaps that is one very valid reason why the spies were so successful.
The agents were at times very unprofessional and perhaps even a threat to D-Day but somehow their covers were not blown and in the author's view they saved thousands of lives, especially since as many as 22 German divisions remained at the Pas-de Calais even as the Normandy invasion was occurring.
This is a well written, easy to read non-fiction book that reads like fiction. I enjoyed it very much.
Perhaps I didn't give it a solid try. But a couple chapters in and I'm already dreading reading the book the next day. That's when you know you should stop.
The story is interesting in itself. However, Macintyre's writing style is verbose and the pacing is slow. What would have been a gripping tale turned into a rather bland historical recount of the lives of five eccentric people.
An excellent source of information on a little known aspect of WW2. Interesting and full of bits of information that cant be found else where.
Spies and Pigeons !
You have forfeited your life, but there is a way of saving your life.
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