Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies

ISBN: 978-0307990433
Review Date:

A couple of years ago, I checked out Ben Macintyre's Operation Mincemeat in its audio book format from the local library. Coincidentally, a cousin of mine gave me a printed copy of the book as a gift shortly after. Having enjoyed both, it was an easy decision to pick up Double Cross from the shelf when I came across it at the library.

Like the previous title, Double Cross told of deception and spycraft. While in the previous work Macintyre described the British attempt to mislead the Germans by inserting false leads on a dead body, in this title the false leads were given to the Germans via a German spy network in Britain that the Germans thought they had controlled. The effectiveness of Macintyre's narratives varied from chapter to chapter, ranging the full spectrum from dry to exciting, and the large cast of characters (some of whom have multiple aliases and code names) could be overwhelming, but he succeeded in putting together a rich work on this less-known area of WW2 history, backed by extensive research. Beyond the main topic of the contribution of these double agents and the MI5 agency overall to the war effort, I also enjoyed the bits of trivia that the author included in the book, such as the infiltration of incapable British pigeons into the German carrier pigeon force and how one of the double agents nearly betrayed the Allies (and thus threatening Operation Overlord) because her beloved pet dog died as the result of MI5's negligence.

John Lee performed the reading of the audio book. This was the third work by him for me (the other two being Macintyre's Operation Mincemeat and a non-WW2 title), and as in the previous two performances, he read with good speed and good clarity. I did not know whether the colorful accents he gave each character was accurate, but they were somewhat entertaining.

Judging from memory, I felt that Operation Mincemeat was a better book, but Double Cross was not a bad one nevertheless. Perhaps not a title I would recommend as an addition to personal libraries, I would still say to pick it up should you run across it at the library and be your own judge.

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