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)
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"More than Mincemeat"
John Lee always seems to read well. While this account is packed with interesting information, it was at times rambling, with some details repeated again and again. Perhaps it was Ben Macintyre's style of writing I found annoying. The task was no doubt difficult. There are still stories within stories, one mystery within another and many of these could be stand alone accounts. It may be this account reads better, as hard copy than having it read in audio format.
If you are interested in WW11, have read and loved 'Catch 22', then this will flesh out a little more of what was going on in the Mediterranean.
It is well worth a listen
"History, journalism and war story all in one"
MacIntyre has been criticised for rehashing a story previously told by others (both here and in Agent ZigZag) and while this is technically true I doubt anyone has written these most intriguing stories with as much style as MacIntyre. His writing flits from reportage to crime novel to historical document to romance in the space of a single page. The narrator, John Lee is superb, maintaining a good pace which enhances the tension of the story. Definitely worth buying, but you'll struggle to turn it off - make sure you have lots of vacation time.
I found this story enjoyable as it would make such a great spy movie.
memorable, hmm, interesting question for this story for me I suppose to consider that a death can make a difference and save thousands of lives is well proven.
enjoyable is all I can have
Neither laugh or cry, but made a tad feeling that war could be fun. I do not mean this disrespectfully for the operation saved lives however, this was the nature of the spying game. I do not consider for one moment the British Agents did as the effort involved and risk would have been to the detriment of lives.
A good companion piece to Agent Zig Zag
"Too much mince and not enough meat"
The book gave an interesting insight into the thinking and motivation of the British Secret Service during war time.The author continually deviated from the story line by providing the most intricate decsriptions of the characters and of the locations where the action was happening.
Difficult to pick one out.
By introducing more first person narrative.
I think that Operation Mincemeat would probably make a good movie. It has an unusual plot with the potential for some quite animated drama. A certain amount of producer's licence would be required and the title would have to be ditched.
I liked this yarn, it had all the elements of a good spy story complete with double and even triple agents all being suckered by the crafty MI5. The only downside was the padding. This book could have been half as long if only half the characteres were given the full life story treatment and the others blended in as befitted the minor part they played.
"The devil is in the detail"
A little less detail. Some of the facts where just clouding the story and padding.
The chapters dealt with the subject and didn't fly off in tangents or repeat previous material over and over again.
They were all good.
I think this book should be made into a mini-series with all the facts. As they say, the facts are stranger than fiction. The 1956 movie was good, but Hollywood being the town it is, had to change the story slightly. Needs to be told proper now.
"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.
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.
"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.
The egos, the inspirations, the obstacles and the luck....it's all in here. A fascinating account of a clandestine operation of misinformation to support the Allied campaign.
Meticulously researched, and well presented, this is a must read/listen for any student of WWII.
Because it includes so many personal touches regarding the individuals involved, it does feel more like a story rather than a dry a documentary - and a fascinating story indeed. Remarkable they pulled it off too.....perhaps luck played a large part, and some useful double agents to help, but still a cunning plan!
Very much outside my normal listening genre, but I feel more informed for it.
"Very thorough recreation of events"
This is quite a fun little adventure that if it wasn't true would probably be unbelievable. The Nazi's come across as quite gullible considering the fate of the whole war is at stake. The Brits are a bunch of comedians, I love the myopic racing driver (Horsfall) entrusted with the delivery.
"Excellent true story"
All the previously unreported details of the operation
Agent Zigzag due to period and detail.
Understated and appropriate.
Admiration for what was achieved.
"A Successful Operation!"
A story that sounds that it has been dreamt up by a film studio this is an tremendously entertaining look at one of the most remarkable events of World War 2. Well written and narrated this would appeal to not only World War 2 enthusiasts but also anyone who loves a good spy story!
Moving along at a fast pace this book was over much to quickly and I would have happily listen to a book twice this length on the subject!
This is a well read/voiced book which is packed with an amazing amount of detail and background information. At times the level of detail feels a little over the top, but on reflection it really adds to the story. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in WW2 history.
"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.
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