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Agent Zigzag

a True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
Jul 14, 2015fredsea rated this title 5 out of 5 stars
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.