“Ben Macintyre’s rollicking, spellbinding Agent Zigzag blends the spy-versus-
spy machinations of John le Carré with the high farce of Evelyn Waugh.”
—William Grimes, The New York Times
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of 2007
One of the Top 10 Best Books of 2007 (Entertainment Weekly)
New York Times Best of the Year Round-Up
New York Times Ed
Eddie Chapman (codename: ZigZag) was, among other things, the head of the "Jelly Gang" (they used gelignite to break into safes), a bit of a lady's man living in "the wor ...more
While not as interesting a read as Macintyre's Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory, the true story of double agent Eddie Chapman still had its moments. Chapman was a thief, a con-man, a ladies man (with a girl in every port, so to speak) and a hustler.
I liked him immensely.
What a charming rogue. The kind of guy you'd like to have drinks with, but not the kind you'd "take home to mother" (thanks, Rick ...more
One good thing has emerged from this failed reading. I realise I don’t much like biographies and autobiographies. There have been a couple that really shone for me, but it’s a genre I often find myself struggling with. I find them plodding – perhaps ...more
A word should be said about Britain's MI5 unit. After reading this book and Operation Mincemeat by the same author, it would appear that Great Britain had the best Military Intelligence unit in W ...more
The author was blessed with a priceless true story, but that's only the beginning. I consider this the best history of WWII clandestine activities ever written, and quite possibly the best work of nonfiction I've ever read. Blindingly talented with superb timing and good taste, Ben Macintyre leads you from wartime Britain to France to No ...more
This is the extremely well-written story about a double agent working for England during the Second World War. His code name was Zigzag, although his real name was Eddie Chapman; although he used a variety of aliases during his career. Chapman was recruited and trained by the Nazis to work for them. When he was out of spy school, and made his first trip to England – parachuting in to a secluded spot – ...more
"So fiction then." my co-worker replied.
"No way, they can't write fiction this absurd. It'd never get published." (in a later chapter, an MI5 interrogator wrote almost that same line into Eddie Chapman's f ...more
Expect a wildly careening, ribald series of chase scenes, foxy schemes, somber imprisonments, and explosions galore. Oh, and prepare to have your moral and imaginative limits stretched and then stretched ...more
The tiniest details tell a lot : when they wanted to convince the other side that a certain secret chunk of war technology was available, deadly and miniaturized for easy concealment, the British Secret ...more
Unless.... it's really very good.
Agent Zigzag tells the tale of Eddie Chapman, bank robber and ladies man, who finds his Channel Island prison suddenly run by an occupying German army. He offers to spy for the Nazis, and then while training in occupied France, memorizes as much as he can so he can give enemy information to the Brits.
Chapman is an amazing character, as are his German and ...more
So we have here the true story of an amazing double agent who was a master confidence man, absolutely fearless, and a notorious womanizer. In short a ch ...more
Colonel Robin 'Tin Eye' Stephens: “Fiction has not, and probably nev ...more
Never a truer word has been written or spoken for Chapman's exploits for both the Germans and the British very nearly defy belief. How he held it all together and lied his way through World War II as a do ...more
Other reviewers have comp ...more
Having just read the fiction novel "Eye of the Needle" which dealt with espionage and counterespionage during World War II, it was an interesting contrast to read "Agent Zigzag" which dealt with the same from a non-fiction standpoint. And Mark Twain was correct, truth IS stranger than fiction. If Agent Zigzag was a fiction novel, I would've characterized it as too outlandish to be believable. Agent Zigzag (aka Eddie Chapman) was a British double agent who made repeated trips in ...more
"Fiction has not, and probably never will, produce an espionage story to rival in fascination and impr ...more
I love how we never really find out where Chapman's loyalty lies; money, country or simply the excitement of danger. The implica ...more
Yet again, Ben Macintyre reveals his ultra diligent research skills as he brings us the story of Eddie Chapaman, a disaffected northern crook who spies for the Nazis in WW2, wins the Iron Cross - and yet was making a massive contribution to the Allies' war effort all along by acting, in reality, as a double agent.
Although there are fleeting references to Ian Fleming, who was part of the British S ...more
In July 2006, Macintyre wrote an article in The Times entitled "How wiki-wiki can get sticky", criticising the limitations of Wikipedia. He cited the self-regulation system as inadequate when literally "anyone" could add supposed "facts" to Wikipe ...more
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Thus the scion of a great banking dynasty learned how to rob a bank.”