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Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies
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Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  7,712 ratings  ·  849 reviews
In his celebrated bestsellers Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat, Ben Macintyre told the dazzling true stories of a remarkable WWII double agent and of how the Allies employed a corpse to fool the Nazis and assure a decisive victory.  In Double Cross, Macintyre returns with the untold story of the grand final deception of the war and of the extraordinary spies who achiev ...more
Paperback, 399 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Broadway Books (first published March 27th 2012)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,712 ratings  ·  849 reviews

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The least entertaining and successful of Macintyre's WWII spy books IMO, probably because the cast of characters was too numerous and nothing interesting really happened until the final 100 pages.

Nonetheless, fans of non-fiction espionage should find some wheat amongst the chaff in this revelation of the part spies and deception played in the successful allied invasion of Normandy (otherwise known as D-Day).

Macintyre knows his material, and gives the reader a full complement of material availabl
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
With this narrative Mr. Macintyre once again proves he is a master of telling the stories of British Intelligence. This book is more than the story of Operation Fortitude, the Allies attempt to convince the Germans that the invasion of France was going to be somewhere other than Normandy. The author tells the story of how British Intelligence - MI 6 completely penetrated the German spy network in Great Britain and used that control to tell the Germans exactly what the Allies wanted them to hear ...more
This is an astonishingly good, absolutely riveting account of a disparate group of individuals whose exploits during WW2 went largely unsung. It was provided to me by netgalley and is well written with humor, empathy and clarity. It brings in accounts of other operations and the bigger picture to provide context, but never moves away from the double agents themselves.

I honestly had no idea that such an infuriating, temperamental, intelligent and diverse a group of people played such an important
Jill Mackin
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great story about the misinformation fed to German intelligence by a group of spies and double agents working for MI5 during WW2 culminating in a successful D-Day landing at Normandy.
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: British and WWII history interests
This book was absolutely hilarious. It is proof of the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction. I don't think any fiction authors could invent the wacky people in this book because they wouldn't have been believed.I quote a few sentences from the book to prove my point (p.5-6):

"For the D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled. They included a bisexual Peruvian playgirl, a tiny Polish fighter pilot, a mercurial Frenchwoman a Serbian seducer, and a
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2015
D Day. The beginning of the end of the Second World War. But for this massive operation to succeed the Allies had to do every trick in the book to convince the Nazis that the invasion was going to take place in a different location.

So was conceived Operation Fortitude, an audacious plan of lies, deception and misinformation to persuade the military that the invasion was going to take place in Norway and Calais. This team of double agents, Bronx, Brutus, Treasure, Tricycle and Garbo fed back to t
A.L. Sowards
I’m so glad I listened to this audiobook. I’ve had several of Mr. Macintyre’s books on my to-read list for a while, and this one didn’t disappoint! I’ve read multiple books on British WWII intelligence and D-day deception schemes (my first novel was about D-day deceptions schemes, so I did a fair amount of research), but I still learned something new. This book will now be my go-to recommendation for readers wanting a nonfiction account of D-day spies. Great bit of history told with skilled writ ...more
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ww2, history, non-fic
אחד מהספרים השנונים, החדים והמרתקים שיצא לי לקרוא על מלחמת העולם השניה. מקלדתו של הסופר, בן מקנטייר, שופעת תיאורים לפעמים מבריקים, שגורמים לקורא להתמוגג, עד כדי כך שרכשתי לי עותק מכל הספרים שכתב.

הספר הזה עוסק במבצע עוז רוח, ההטעיה שקדמה למבצע אוברלורד, או הפלישה לנורמנדי של בנות הברית. הפלישה תוכננה למאי 1944. והיא נדיחתה בחודש, והיה חשש מבוסס שהיא תסתיים בכישלון שילווה במרחץ דמים. בכדי לשכנע את היטלר שלא להזיז את הדביזיה ה 15 מקאלה, היה צורך לשכנע את הפיקוד הגרמני שהפלישה כשתתבצע, תהיה מקאלה ול
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book. Is. Amazing.

Do you know how many uncaptured German spies were operating in Britain during WWII?
That's right.

Every single German spy was either captured or became part of MI5's XX System, aka "Double-Cross." And each one of them was... a character. As McIntyre puts it:
"They included a bisexual Peruvian playgirl, a tiny Polish fighter pilot, a mercurial Frenchwoman a Serbian seducer, and a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming. Together, under Robertson's guid
Melanie Fraser
The elaborate plans of the British with the help of their double agents from several countries made possible the D Day landings in Normandy in World War II, duped the Germans into sending their main armies to other venues and thus the Allies won the war.

Ben Macintyre writes this historical series of events with humour and drama for Double Cross was a magnificent and ingeniously stage managed inspiration by Tar Robertson and others in MI5 and M16 that could so easily have gone horribly wrong. Tha
May 25, 2012 added it
Shelves: couldnt-finish
I ran out of gas around page 65. I don't know why I keep picking up spy non fiction books when I know that there is nothing exciting about the life of a real spy. Only James Bond, that Bourne guy and Sterling Archer have exciting lives in espionage and they are fictitious characters; and that Bourne guy wasn't even a spy technically, he was just a crazy assassin who lost his marbles.
K.J. Charles
I am apparently on a WW2 spy kick. Another fascinating story of unlikely heroism dragged out of the depths of some very dodgy people, as a set of playboys and playgirls, weirdos, cheats and chicken farmers become double agents in the teeth of Nazi Germany, culminating in the grand Operation Bodyguard that allowed Overlord, the D-Day landings, to succeed.

Possibly "ordinary people stepping up to the plate in the teeth of fascism" is why I'm reading all these, in fact. A great story anyway, and on
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has read anything by Ben Macintyre before will know that they are in for a treat. He is a wonderful storyteller and, in this book, he is on territory he seems to understand brilliantly and relish. The Allied military planners were working on the the great assault on Nazi Occupied Europe - the D-Day invasion would decide the outcome of the war. In order to convince the Germans that the invasion was coming where it was not actually coming, and not coming in the place where it was actual ...more
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest stories ever pieced together! Really. Macintyre assembles a complex, nearly incomprehensible story into an amusing Mercedes Benz of a book. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. He transforms a clearly tremendous effort of preparation on his part into a suspenseful, informative spy story. I love “his” mostly disparate “characters:” The whole lot of double crossers, their German and British handlers and everybody else at MI5 and 6. This is a helluvan example of a British-lead ...more
John Frazier
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I doubt I'll live long enough to fully appreciate the innumerable stories that continue to publish almost 70 years after the end of World War II, and this is just one more example of what makes most of them so engaging, so captivating, so essential. You don't get labeled as a "World War" without involving a good portion of the globe and, although it involves perhaps the most chronicled event of the war in D-Day and the Normandy Invasion, "Double Cross" is the riveting story of a handful of behin ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

פעם, כשהייתי צעיר, הייתי צופה בסדרה בריטית על מרגלים בMI5. מתברר שיש לה לא מעט שמות: ספוקס(spooks), MI-5, המרגלים וכנראה שעוד כמה. בשבילי זה הדבר הכי איכותי שידעתי באותו זמן. אחר כך, עם בואם של סרטי הג'יימס בונד וג'ייסון בורן זה גם הפך להיות הדבר הכי אמין בעניין הריגול. כמובן, עדיין בגדר תוכנית טלוויזיה.
המליצו לי על הספר, "אתה תודה לי אחר כך." אמרו. ובכן, אני מודה(בעניין ה.

אני יכול להגיד שלא ציפיתי שבספר על MI-5 האמיתי יהיה סיפור כה מוזר, חשוד במופרך ושקשה לי לתאר אותו בלי להשתמש במילה "גרוטסקי"
Geza Tatrallyay
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
An excellent, gripping tale of the efforts in MI5 to turn and use 5 spies as double agents, who end up playing a key role in deceiving the Germans about the time and place of the D-Day attack. It really brings home what a slim margin the Allied victory in WW II hung on, and the key roles that a handful of unsung individuals played in making it happen. Well worth a read.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
After visiting the International Spy Museum in D.C., I was super interested in learning more about real-life spies, and my friend recommended Ben Macintyre's Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies. Which relates how British double agents ensured the success of D-Day by fooling the Germans into believing that the Normandy invasion would actually be occurring in several other locations.

This. Story. Is. Fucking. Unreal.

Two things become very clear after listening to this book. One, the Bri
Apr 18, 2013 rated it liked it
A book about the spymasters and double agents assisting the Allies’ real and fake plans to invade Nazi-held France in WW2. Overall I give this book 3 stars, but it’s mixed. The beginning is 5 stars, the middle is 1 star and the last 75 pages are 4 stars. I started out enjoying this book immensely. Halfway through I was puzzled that I wasn’t enjoying it more: it's a true WW2 spy story, for goodness sake! The midsection just drags on and on — I got tired of the details and started skimming. The la ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is certainly about history and espionage; but it is also certainly about management--both project and personnel. Macintyre goes off onto tangents--for example the British attempts to sabotage the German carrier pigeon network--but that only adds panache to this bizarre and quirky narrative on the campaign to deceive the Axis into dispersing their military units to places the Allies were NOT conducting amphibious landings. Someone really should write a screenplay, because there is no wa ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I have always loved real life survival stories, especially when dealing with WWII. This is a story about the Double Cross spies, upon whom the survival of many in WWII was depended. Their misinformation was known to have made it way to top Nazi eyes and ears, and the resulting sucess of the Normandy Invasion is evidence that the ruses employed was successful.

I read this book just after reading "In the Garden of Beasts.", second in my trilogy of WWII stories recently read. In this book, you know
Dick Reynolds
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
It’s the summer of 1943 and Germany’s forces have taken over much of Europe. Tar Robertson of the British Security Service (aka MI5) is putting the finishing touches on a weapon that will tell a huge lie to Hitler. Robertson has collected a small and most unusual group of agents, characters who’ve established fake allegiance to Hitler and will act as British spies feeding false information back to Hitler’s own intelligence officers.
The Double Cross team members concocted their own sub-agents
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
DOUBLE CROSS. (2012). Ben Macintyr. ****.
Mr. Macintyr introduces us to a group of individuals who played a silent and secret role for the Allied during World War II. They managed to convince the Germans that the attack from England onto the Continent that occurred on June 6, 1944, would be launched against the region around Calais, not Normandy. This forced the Nazi high command to maintain a strong presence of troops in that area away from the actual target, thereby ultimately saving thousands
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Any book which features such unlikely heroes as a transvestite British colonel and counterfeit homing pigeons is going to keep my interest, and this witty history of MI-5's wartime counterespionage program does just that. Run out of "Section Twenty" which was the only section of the service to use Roman numerals (XX equals Double Cross), the British fed the Germans a stream of fake intelligence to achieve strategic and tactical results.

The real heroes are the spies themselves. In fact long befor
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii
This is the third Ben Macintyre spy saga I've read and all of them have been very very interesting. This one should be made into a mini-series - a movie would never be able to fit in as complex a plot contained herein.
This is an in depth study of the careers of five double agents in WWII. British intelligence completely ran the German intelligence into dead ends of misinformation. How they held it together, the depth of the deception, is remarkable. That they succeeded is partially their own doi
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was ok

World War 2 espionage fascinates Ben Macintyre. A British writer who has discovered oddball characters and double-agents that are not so much out of Hitchcock but Mel Brooks.
In his newest work, Macintyre details the not-entirely believable story of a motley group of spies who deceived the Germans into believing that the D-Day invasion in 1944 would take place in Pas de Calais and not Normandy. The spies included a bisexual Peruvian playgirl, an eccentric Spaniard with a degree in chicken farm
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ben Macintyre's ability to write history books that are so entertaining and readable that it's hard to believe they aren't fiction is stunning.

When you consider the hours that he must have spent trawling through rather dry records to find the thread of the book, let alone cross checking details from other sources, and then pulling together a story that is not only thrilling, but also was a crucial part of D Day succeeding, I'm in awe.

His ability to humanise people is extraordinary, with the va
Jason Blythe
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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WW2 Spy Novels group now available 1 11 Feb 27, 2014 09:16AM  
  • Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day
  • The Double-Cross System: The Incredible True Story of How Nazi Spies Were Turned into Double Agents
  • Operation Fortitude
  • Blackett's War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare
  • Dam Busters: The True Story of the Legendary Raid on the Ruhr
  • Dunkirk: Fight To The Last Man
  • The Retreat: Hitler's First Defeat
  • A Genius for Deception: How Cunning Helped the British Win Two World Wars
  • With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain
  • Flames in the Field: The Story of Four SOE Agents in Occupied France
  • A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII.
  • The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain
  • Target Tirpitz: X-Craft, Agents and Dambusters - The Epic Quest to Destroy Hitler's Mightiest Warship
  • Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II (Oxford Oral History Series)
  • Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs: The Unknown Story of the Men and Women of World War II's OSS
  • Americans in Paris: Life and Death under Nazi Occupation 1940-1944
  • And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris
  • Defend the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5
Ben Macintyre is a writer-at-large for The Times of London and the bestselling author of A Spy Among Friends, Double Cross, Operation Mincemeat, Agent Zigzag, and Rogue Heroes, among other books. Macintyre has also written and presented BBC documentaries of his work.
“For the D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled. They included a bisexual Peruvian playgirl, a tiny Polish fighter pilot, a mercurial Frenchwoman, a Serbian seducer, and a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming.” 4 likes
“Like all truly selfish people, Kliemann believed the minutiae of his life must be fascinating to all.” 3 likes
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