Brian 's Reviews > Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

Double Cross by Ben Macintyre
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Jun 24, 12

bookshelves: european-history-great-britain, european-history-germany
Read from June 16 to 24, 2012

Double Cross by Ben Macintyre is an excellent look at the system of counter intelligence that the British employed to fool the German high command throughout World War II. Using the work of the Bletchley Park to decode German codes and find agents throughout the British Isles, MI5 was able to round up German spies and turn them into double agents feeding their handlers false information. Five main agents made up the Double Cross system with a host of others recruited towards the cause. An eccentric Pole who worked for the reconstitution of his country and an underground network that worked against the Nazis. Treasure was a dog obsessed woman who nearly wiped out the entire system with her demands but fooled the Nazi’s at critical moments. Another gambling socialite fed falsehoods about the upper crust of society that corroborated the evidence of the others in the network. The two most critical members of this group were Tricycle and Garbo. Tricycle worked direct intelligence and turned his German handler Johnny Jebsen for the British. Garbo was one of the more interesting members of this cast creating a fictitious army of spies that fed the Nazi’s information that at critical moments kept entire armies away from the Normandy shore.
Overall it is a well written book that requires careful attention as the same person can have multiple code names on both sides of the War. Due to the complicated nature and some of the agents being triple turns the pace of the book moves quickly and it is easy to get lost if you are just trying to skim the book. It is by far one of the more comprehensive books available on the double cross system and packs a lot of information into a small amount of space. This is an integral part of the World War II intelligence historiography and told very well with all the players as part of the grand symphony of misinformation that was used to protect the Normandy landing against an even greater defensive force. After this one I am eager to read the other books by this author on World War Ii intelligence.
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