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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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  9,391 ratings  ·  971 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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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Hannah
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
...more
happy
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
Ruth
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
...more
Joan
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
...more
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.
Paul
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
...more
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
Carly
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?
Zero.
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
...more
J.C.
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. ...more
Nigeyb
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of the mighty Ben Macintyre, so it was only a matter of time before I'd read Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies.

In Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies, Macintyre relates the untold story of the extraordinary band of agents and double agents who convinced the Nazis that the 150,000 Allied troops who landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day were just one part of a larger invasion plan with others to follow at Calais and Norway. This belief convinced the N
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Jill Meyer
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Before you begin reading this book, take a look at the map at the very front. It's a map of northern France and southern England. Notice how close the cities of Dover and Calais are; the sea distance is about 21 miles. Meanwhile, continue west to the widest gap between France and England which is about 100 miles. That's the distance between Portsmouth, England and the five Normandy beaches. Those 100 miles were crossed by the American, British, and Canadian forces on June 6, 1944 - D-Day. Why th ...more
Susan
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
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
Eric
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent book, if you like true spy stories. Ben Macintyre does as good of a job getting into the thinking of a spy as the best fictional spy writers, but in this case, he's doing it with the real double (and sometimes triple or more) spies of WWII that fooled Hitler & the German High Command into thinking that the D-Day invasion at Normandy was just a diversion, hence they didn't send enough reinforcements there in time to stop it...until it was too late. The author works off of de ...more
Moira
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
Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Noggle
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, history
What a cast of characters! Excellent writing by Macintyre, but not as quite as good as *A Spy Among Friends* or *The Spy and the Traitor* — perhaps a bit too spread out in scope.

“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.”

“In war, no variable is more important, and
...more
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.
Sunil
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
...more
Emily
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A few months ago, I decided to accept my pandemic attention span as it is, and not feel guilty about what I choose to read--embarking on a schedule of, mostly, rereading. Double Cross was a new book but it's by a familiar author on a familiar theme so it worked out anyway.

In 1943, MI6 realized that all German spies in Britain were either captured or under their control. Using an extremely motley and unlikely group of double agents, who couldn't be contradicted by any remaining real spies, they s
...more
Mal Warwick
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A New Spin on Why the Normandy Invasion Succeeded

Americans' views of the Second World War have been dominated by films, books, and television specials about the role that U.S. troops played in the fighting. Even today, more than half a century after the war ended, we tend to believe that it was our ingenuity and industrial might and the sheer guts and persistence of American soldiers and sailors that defeated Nazi Germany -- and, to borrow a phrase from the preceding Great War, "made the world s
...more
Lisa McAuliffe
Zero stars. I never bail on books, even when I am not loving them. But this one literally was just a guy reading off names. Seriously. Got through 6 chapters, I hadn’t heard the same name twice, and had no idea how any of them were connected. Horrible.
Mary
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
Scottnshana
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
Fran Hutton
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
...more
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
...more
Harold
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
...more
David
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
...more
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WW2 Spy Novels group now available 1 11 Feb 27, 2014 09:16AM  

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Ben Macintyre is a writer-at-large for The Times (U.K.) and the bestselling author of The Spy and the Traitor, 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.

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“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
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