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Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5's Secret Nazi Hunter

Narrated by: Roger Davis
Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (46 ratings)
Regular price: £19.99
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Summary

This is the incredible tale of Operation Fifth Column, a Second World War MI5 operation so secret that its existence was revealed by the National Archives for the first time only in 2014. 

Throughout the war and even for a couple of years afterwards, 'Agent Jack' - in reality, a bank clerk named Eric Roberts - acted as a Gestapo agent to whom hundreds of British-based Nazi sympathisers and informers passed their secrets, thinking that he was sending them back to Germany. Many were put on a salary by what they thought was the Third Reich, and some were even 'awarded' Iron Crosses for their services to the Fatherland; they never found out the truth. 

Among the secrets they tried to pass were: a tip-off about Bletchley Park; details of the deadly Mosquito bomber; and complete plans of a highly effective antiradar technology code named WINDOW. The larger-than-life characters who populate the book include Roberts himself, the deceptively ordinary-seeming bank clerk; Maxwell Knight, who recruited Roberts; Victor Third Baron Rothschild, Roberts' spymaster, who did a sideline in bomb disposal using his Cartier screwdrivers; Theresa Clay, the distinguished biologist who co-ran the operation with Rothschild, but because she was a woman was only ever classified as an 'assistant'; and Marita Perigoe, possibly the most dangerous of the fascists, who despite having her suspicions about Roberts, continued to recruit spies for him and pass him secrets to the end of the war.

©2018 Robert Hutton (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group Limited

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Fascinating!

An absolutely fascinating listen. As with many books about the secret war, you’d be inclined to think it was fictional but turns out to be marvellously and in some cases disturbingly true.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well worth a credit

A well narrated tale of a less well known dimension of Britain's war effort.If you like espionage this is a book right up your street as an unlikely bank clerk battles a potential fifth column in war time Britain . Links to the Cambridge spies and gives a picture of the class divide in British intelligence at the time.
It does however raise surprisingly inadequately answered questions regarding why some of these individuals such as Knight joined fascist organisations in the 1920's . All In all a very good listen though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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MI5 vs fifth column

I have an abiding fascination with espionage, which is satisfied by both fact and fiction works. Because of this, I own and have read, a very large number of such works and can testify that many works of fact are excellent (e.g. those by Christopher Andrew) and many works of fiction are excellent (e.g. those by John le carre). But there are also many books which are poor or awful. It is with the delight I can testify this book is amongst the former.

Hutton's research is clearly detailed, precise, careful and highly accurate. His completion of this particular jigsaw is a testament to the journalist, detective and puzzle-solver which all great espionage historians need to be. In terms of the audiobook, Davis's reading is of the highest quality, complimenting the author's written words. Congratulations to all involved and thank you.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Superb book. Many congratulations to the author.

A truly brilliant book about real British anti-Nazi agents . Riveting. The work involved in researching this book must have been very exacting. Excellent.

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The Other Personal Side of History

In a different world, one people today cannot imagine, a single person takes it upon themselves to break convention and succeeds where no-one expected success to be found. This is a fascinating book for anyone with an interest in the reality of espionage, not just the glamour. These are real peoples lives but with such a twist. I truly enjoyed this book.

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Very interesting

Thoroughly enjoyed this, although a little misleading as it is in no way just about agent Jack. I would very much reccomend it.

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event based unsatisfying essay.

Well read, and interesting information, but it wasn't what one might call "gripping". In the end we are left to wonder if these events shaped the course of the war, but I think the whole point of this 15 hour audion book is these evenys might have stopped some spying. But we can't be sure....