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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
Categories: History, Second World War
4.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's 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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  • Gary L
  • 10-05-2019

fantastic story. love hearing the secrets

with the release of MI5 files come a fantastic array of stories to be told

1 person found this helpful

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  • David Vincent
  • 27-09-2018

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 person found this helpful

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  • theone901
  • 24-09-2018

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Spencer Winston
  • 21-11-2018

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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-08-2020

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  • John Corcoran
  • 28-06-2020

Interesting but Niche

It's a niche area of MI5 world war 2 secret operations, the orchestrating of a mock 5th Column. It has some fascinating aspects, but in the end one is left feeling, 'yes interesting but not life or death', the fact that all these eager fascist traitors were never prosecuted is perhaps the most surprising aspect of it all.. I'd love to have found out what happened to Nancy Brown though, unless I missed that part of the epilogue.

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  • Elizabeth P.
  • 07-05-2020

Well written

Interesting story which was narrated well. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Would definatly recommend.

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  • Andrew McMinn
  • 05-11-2019

Excellent

Great story, well researched and narrated. The volume could be a little louder though.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-10-2019

An unusual take on wartime security, well narrated

When there is a lot of information to consume, as in this book, it helps if the narration is well presented, clear and interesting. The story throws light on a very little reported aspect of national security during wartime, that of home grown subversion, and it gently touches the overlaps with other branches of the Security Services, which puts its own position more clearly into context.

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  • Mister Smallweed
  • 05-09-2019

Interesting declassified information

This is an account of one man's exploits running agents during the second world war. It's a good story and it paints a picture of a very good spymaster, with some excellent background information. This is slightly let down by the narrator's irritating habit of pausing before emphasising adjectives or other descriptors.