“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
Popular Answered Questions
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
"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
"Superb. Meticulously researched, splendidly told, immensely entertaining and often very moving."
is absolutely correct. I did find the story 'moving', but mostly only in that the treatment of Chapman by his second handler, after Reed was sent to France, was atrocious and mostly inspired by what I see as Ryde's jealousy over Chapman's success with women an ...more
The book centres around a British man, Eddie Chapman, and his subsequent involvement ...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
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
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
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
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
It's sounds impossible to have the verve and the bad boy nature to this extent over such a constantly transient life. But Chapman lived it and in such a way that a decent goal in wartime became the real, rather than endless prison sentences.
My own experience of enjoying this one? It was good and the ...more