Agent Zigzag

Agent Zigzag

A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

Book - 2007
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Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was parachuted into Britain with orders to blow up an airplane factory. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, he worked as a double agent, a British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service. Crisscrossing Europe under different names, weaving plans, spreading disinformation, and miraculously keeping his stories straight under intense interrogation, he even managed to gain some profit and seduce beautiful women along the way. MI5 has now declassified all of Chapman's files, allowing the full story to be told, a unique glimpse into the psychology of espionage, with its thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Harmony Books, c2007.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780307353405
Characteristics: xii, 364 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.


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Dec 30, 2019

This non fiction book lacks the tension of Mcintyre's other book, "The Spy and a Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War". It was interesting to look at the Bibliography to see that quite a few of the principles in the book had written books on the same subject, including the double agent. I also found interesting the author's last chapter, "Aftermath" in which he provides details about what happened to all of the people mentioned in the book. Even the "Epilogue" has interesting tidbits of revelations by people who wanted to share their connection with the double agent, Edward Chapman.

Apr 21, 2019

This was a great read. Highly recommend.

Aug 05, 2017

True story, worth a read if you are interested in; things English from a while back, or wwII (for younger readers of this review, be advised, ww is not same as ) or espionage, etc. Like 'Three day road' (Joseph Boyden), or 'All the light we cannot see' (Anthony Doerr) but not made up (!). As a committed non-fiction reader this book just reinforces my belief that the real world is just so much more interesting and relevant than fiction. I was somewhat put off by the cover and almost did not read it but was glad I did. This book was a good read, a tad dry. (Wondered if Chapman was a psychopath but this was not mentioned.) Real story, amazing how the author pulled it together 60 years after the fact.

Jul 14, 2015

Ben Macintyre writes in a very smooth style, making you feel like you are reading a novel, except that the action has really happened. Given the meticulous bibliography, as a layperson, I trust that the narrative corresponds to the facts. Even so, I did spot two fairly glaring mistakes in his books, but they do not affect the main narrative.

One regards the code breakers who enabled British (and American) services to keep a close eye on German thought. It is amazing that no mention at all is made of the main mathematical genius who made it all possible, that is Alan Turing. The book seems recent enough that it should have had access to the full story. By the way, the decryption was not as walk-in-the-park as Ben describes it - changes in the Enigma machines created several bumps, even though the main hurdles were with the Navy codes.

The other mistake is in the statement that Stalin helped the Greek insurrection against the king that the Brits imposed on them after the war and that was crushed quite violently by Britain and America. As a matter of fact, Stalin broke with Yugoslavia's Tito (after which "Titoist" was as damning a "sin" as "Trotskyte" in orthodox Soviet-style communism), precisely because Tito insisted on providing aid to the Greeks, against strict orders. Stalin took Yalta at face value, and Greece was part of Britain's "sphere of influence", hence off limits.

Mar 25, 2013

It's an interesting story, and I was convinced that the author did his research. Given the rather breathless and admiring approach, though, this might have made a better fact-based novel.

mikeyppl Apr 20, 2012

Eddie Chapman is quite a character. I love books like this that introduce you to people who played a vital role in WWII but whom you've probably never heard of.

williamslstaff May 30, 2011

Riveting read
good for a guy-read recommendation

Mar 09, 2011

Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction; a rollicking good story about a resourceful rogue in wartime.

Jun 29, 2010

What a wonderful read! And it is a true story - that is what really kept me hooked, I couldn't put it down and my wife felt the same way.


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