By: Ben MacIntyre
Rated: 5 Stars
I stayed up all night listening to this book.! It's been many, many years since I've done that. I'm going to be as grouchy as an old bear by this afternoon. I haven't seen this much daring-do and skull duggery since I worked for a lobbyist with machiavellian tendencies. Well maybe not the daring-do but certainly the skull duggery. :) The reader is John Lee and he has become my favorite reader of audio books.
The action in this book is primarily set in Spain. Because Spain remained officially neutral in WW2 it is often not written about and I knew nothing about what went on there at that time until read this book. It was a virtual hot-bed of activity with spies so numerous they must have been tripping over each other.
The overall message that this book repeated over and over is that people can make themselves believe any thing, no matter how improbable or insane if they really want to believe it. That's what the intelligence communities and propagandists count on and something those of us who follow politics see proof of every day.
As plans got under way for the Allied invasion of Sicily in June 1943, British counter-intelligence agent Ewen Montagu masterminded a scheme to mislead the Germans into thinking the next landing would occur in Greece. The innovative plot was so successful that the Germans moved some of their forces away from Sicily, and two weeks into the real invasion still expected an attack in Greece.
This extraordinary operation called for a dead body, dressed as a Royal Marine officer and carrying false information about a pending Allied invasion of Greece, to wash up on a Spanish shore near the town of a known Nazi agent.
Agent Montagu tells the story as only an insider could, offering fascinating details of the difficulties involved - especially in creating a persona for a man who never was - and of his profession as a spy and the risks involved in mounting such a complex operation. Failure could have had devastating results. Success, however, brought a decided change in the course of the war.