From the best-selling author of Agent Zigzag, the thrilling true story of the greatest and most successful wartime deception ever attempted. One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British solder floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War.
Operation Mincemeat was the most successful wartime deception ever attempted and certainly the strangest. It hoodwinked the Nazi espionage chiefs, sent German troops hurtling in the wrong direction, and saved thousands of lives by deploying a secret agent who was different in one crucial respect, from any spy before or since: he was dead.
His mission: to convince the Germans that instead of attacking Sicily, the Allied armies planned to invade Greece. The brainchild of an eccentric RAF officer and a brilliant Jewish barrister, the great hoax involved an extraordinary cast of characters including a famous forensic pathologist, a gold-prospector, an investor, a beautiful secret service secretary, a submarine captain, three novelists, a transvestite English spymaster, an irascible admiral who loved fly-fishing, and a dead Welsh tramp.
Using fraud, imagination and seduction, Churchill's team of spies spun a web of deceit so elaborate and so convincing that they began to believe it themselves. The deception started in a windowless basement beneath Whitehall. It travelled from London to Spain to Germany. And it ended up on Hitler's desk. Ben Macintyre, bestselling author of AGENT ZIGZAG, weaves together private documents, photographs, memories, letters and diaries as well as newly released material from the intelligence files of MI5 and Naval Intelligence, to tell for the first time the full story of Operation Mincemeat.
©2010 Ben Macintyre (P)2010 Random House
'A rollicking read for all those who enjoy a spy story so fanciful that Ian Fleming - himself an officer in Montagu's wartime department - would never have dared to invent it' Max Hastings'. (Sunday Times)
'Ben Macintyre, also the author of the acclaimed AGENT ZIGZAG, is fast becoming a one-man industry in these updated tales of cunning, bravery and skulduggery. With his mix of meticulous research and a good hack's eye for narrative, it is hard to think of a better guide to keep beckoning us back to that fascinating world'. (Observer)
'Even more spellbinding than his previous story of wartime espionage, AGENT ZIGZAG, with a cast-list every bit as dotty and colourful ... Macintyre is a master of the thumbnail character sketch.' (Mail on Sunday)
'Astonishing ... sheds riveting new light on this breathtaking plan.' (Daily Mail)
"The Full Story of "The Man Who Never Was.""
We all know the story of 'The Man Who Never Was' - an imaginative ploy to trick the Germans late in WWII.
'Operation Mincemeat' is to 'The Man Who Never Was' in the same wau that the musical 'Wicked' is to 'The Wizard Of Oz'. I thought I knew the story of the deception, but as it turned out, I didn't know jack.
'The Man Who Never Was' was written in post-War Britain with too many secrets needing to remain secret. It edits much of the truth and recasts far too many characters. The subsequent film does what films do and rewrites the story for a Hollywood mindset.
'Operation Mincemeat' is a comprehensive telling of the story. That means it may be a little longer than it otherwise needs to be, but at the end, every imaginable question you have will have been addressed, crossreferenced and reiterated.
"Espionage at its best."
This book reads like a far-fetched, 'Boys Own' war-novel and keeps you interested from start to finish. It is well researched, well written and adopts a great pace. Each extraordinary character is introduced with their background, reputation and contribution clearly described and incorporated into the fascinating story of Operation Mincemeat. The historical importance of this operation is undeniable and this book brings the story to the reader/listener with an honest documenting of the combination of skill, legerdemain, nerve and blind luck that led to its success. If you like mystery novels, historical documentaries or action & adventure books, then this is a combination of all three and you should really enjoy it. Well done to the author for a widely researched, well written and exciting book. It is a high-quality production with excellent narration.
After being recommended to me this has been one of the most enjoyable audiobooks i have purchased. The story is great and the narrator really brings the characters to life.
I bought this book as it looked interesting, and while it would be wrong to say that it wasn't, I have to own that I found it irritating.
I found it unsatisfactory, possibly because of the way that it was read - in the style of a swashbuckling spy novel of the 1940s - though that is I suppose what it is, as well as being a true story. There is no humour in the book at all and it's quite involved - not necessarily because it helps the plot along, but almost to prove how thorough was the author's research. I never escaped from real life into it and didn't engage with the characters at all. I listened to the end in the hope that it would get better. It didn't!
I don't totally regret getting it as I learned a lot - but would hesitate before choosing another book by this author.
"A supurb story, More so because it is true."
I have always been interested in history, especially the second world war and with new and interesting facts coming to light every year it is great to hear of things we might never have imagined...This is one such story it is a compelling, interesting and fact based review of an amazing plot to foil Hitler and it worked.
From start to finish I enjoyed every minute. the story, the people in it, and the best of it is, it's all true a great listen.
"A ripping yarn"
Famous as one of the great deception exercises of the Second World War, this is a gripping and intriguing tale, well worth a listen. It's hard work at time, though, because of the production - narrator John Lee ploughs relentlessly on with no sense of narrative sequence and no breaks even for breath, and it's all just a little hurried. (I'd give it four stars but for this minor irritation.) Keep your finger on the 'pause' button and you'll be ok, though.
A very interesting book for those who are into this kind of thing!
Massively detailed, you have to concentrate to avoid missing vital information.
The narrator has an easy to listen to voice.
All in all very good & highly recomended for WW2 buffs.
"An update of a classic story"
This is a truely fascinating updated account of 'The man who never was'. It is a much richer and stranger story with all the Hollywood glitz removed. The narritive gives detailed information on the backgrounds of the characters involved on both sides. Althought this gives the initial appearence of wandering from the story, ultimately it enriches the characters and explains why indivduals reacted as they did. This is important as there were some pretty strange decisions made on both sides. That the deception worked is well recorded historical
fact.How and why this worked is somewhat more open to interpretation. The previous reviewer did not like the boys own style but then I think this is very much a boys story. There is humour in the story but it is very dry and probably once again boy humour. The narrator is very good with a classic Herr Flick accent when reading the German accounts.Recommended but you'll have to pay attention.
"Worth a listen"
Just fantastic, listened to the book in one sitting and was fascinated. If you like it, buy Agent Zigzag as well
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