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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

What listeners say about Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5's Secret Nazi Hunter

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • merlin d magician
  • 07-02-2021

Slow start, but powerful read.

The implications of this book are tremendous. I had always been under the assumption that everyone in Britain was fully committed to helping her win the war.....this story shows the extent of the opposition and how things could have been very different if the spy hunters had not kept the undercover dissidents under control. Well worth the time, although not quite the level of page turner as macyntre, le carre or greene, but still a captivating listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-01-2021

The secret is out!

Then they wonder why most people do not trust governments.
Enjoyed the facts and it is a thrilling ride and unbelievable outcome.
History has shown Humans that we never learn from our Mistakes.

Great Listen. recommended.

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  • little old me
  • 08-10-2020

Fascinating

If you have any interest in WW2, counter intelligence or just like a good spy story this is great!
It’s fascinating to hear the lengths gone to, to protect information and also the battle between doing what would be seen as the “right thing” to do in peace time and what is needed in war. I really enjoyed it

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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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