Huw Rhys's Reviews > Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory

Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre
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's review
Oct 12, 2011

really liked it
Read from September 29 to October 12, 2011

I do like the odd History book - and this was an odd history book - and I liked it!

Firstly, you get the sense that you've read this story before, and you know the outcome. Then you remember that you read "The Man Who Never Was", and saw the film (countless times) over the years. Because "Operation Mincemeat" is pretty much this same story all over again. So like "The Titanic", you know the main parts - and you know the end. But it's the detail in between that is so absorbing here.

Most historical books can become slightly dry because they a. seldom focus much on the characters involved, b. can become a list of factual events and c. don't do a whole lot of moralizing.

This book goes against all of these approaches. The author has ploughed through copious amounts of research material - almost 4 pages of bibliography, and over 40 pages of references to books, articles, documents and interviews. As such, he is able to build up pretty rounded character descriptions for most of the main protagonists. It also allows him to relay events in a more lyrical format, without deviating from the facts - and he also makes much of the moral dilemmas created by these events in Europe in the 1940's - many of which would pass an evolved society by 70 years later.

The nett result is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and a real insight into arguably one of the turning points of the Second World War.

If you like your history dry, then you probably won't enjoy this book very much. But if you like a cracking yarn, well written, thoroughly researched with a real insight into the inner psyche of the 1940's characters involved in this drama - then I guarantee that you'll really like this odd little book - just as I did!
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09/29/2011 page 28
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