Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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

Ben McIntyre has created  a great series of books in his trilogy of histories of British Intelligence operations during World War Two.

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies, tells the stories of a small group of spies who operated from the UK and at time the USA for Nazi Germany.


Unknown to the Germans however all their most prestigious spies were in fact double agents. The information they supplied was given to them by British Intelligence officers working from Room XX (the Roman numeral for 20 and the double cross of the title.)

Among the stories told are those of "Garbo" one of Germany's most important spies, who commanded a network of over twenty recruits to his spy ring. These recruits ranged from Liverpool dock workers to a group of revolutionary Welsh coal miners bent on the destruction of the British Empire. Each one though was really a figment of "Garbo's" imagination. Every character had a life which the ingenious Spaniard created for his Nazi controllers and so convinced them as to their reality that even after D-Day had occured (June 6, 1944) Garbo's reports were avidly awaited in Berlin.

This book also describes the lives of four other major spies, two other men, and two brave women who  risked all to ensure the ultimate success of the Allied cause in World War Two.

Read the story of a female spy, who asked her German handler for a photgraph for a lover's keepsake. Or the spy who when faced with exposure flew to meet his master's and challenged them, accusing them of taking the cream off the top of his espionage allowance.

Ben McIntyre provides us with vivid personalities, he is wonderfully adept at intertwining several stories to allow you to see both detail and the grand picture.

If you have any interest in World War Two in Europe this book will add to your knowledge. If you are fascinated by the world of spies and James Bond stories, this book will enthrall, Ian Flemming worked closely with some of the XX team.

If you have read any of Ben McIntyre's other books in the series "Agent ZigZag  or Operation Mincemeat, this book is a necessary addition to your library.

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