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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

'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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

incredible story

an amazing true story .... truly epic and only british could achieve such a deception, although there had to have been at least an element of complicity on behalf of tge neutral/axis powers

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anniebligh
  • 19-11-2011

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Steven
  • 27-03-2011

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Garry
  • 21-04-2013

Excellent story

What made the experience of listening to Operation Mincemeat the most enjoyable?

I found this story enjoyable as it would make such a great spy movie.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Operation Mincemeat?

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.

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

enjoyable is all I can have

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

A good companion piece to Agent Zig Zag

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Geoffrey
  • 19-12-2012

Too much mince and not enough meat

What did you like best about Operation Mincemeat? What did you like least?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Difficult to pick one out.

How could the performance have been better?

By introducing more first person narrative.

Could you see Operation Mincemeat being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 10-05-2012

The devil is in the detail

Is there anything you would change about this book?

A little less detail. Some of the facts where just clouding the story and padding.

What did you like best about this story?

The chapters dealt with the subject and didn't fly off in tangents or repeat previous material over and over again.

Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

They were all good.

Do you think Operation Mincemeat needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Nope

Any additional comments?

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.