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


Booklist Reviews 2012 June #1
Despite massive efforts by the Abwehr, the German espionage service, the where and when of the D-Day landings were perhaps the most successfully kept secrets of WWII. As a result, the Germans were required to maintain forces all across their "Atlantic Wall." When the Normandy invasion began, the ability of the Germans to rush in reinforcements was severely hindered. The maintenance of the secret, as well as the continued deception foisted on the Germans, is chronicled superbly by Macintyre, a writer for The Times of London. The success was, in no small part, due to a varied crew of double agents. Some, like the Polish exile and fierce patriot Roman Garby Czerniawski, had admirable motives; others, including a neurotic Frenchwoman with an obsessive attachment to her dog, and an anti-Nazi German prone to financial manipulations, defy easy categorizations. The control and management of this corps by Allied intelligence officials were effective but frustrating, nerve-racking, and came close to disaster at least once. Macintyre has written a tense, exciting real-life spy story that illuminates a largely obscure aspect of WWII. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 June #1
Newly declassified intelligence files flesh out the intricately interwoven network of World War II spies who formed the Double Cross British espionage system. Unlike the narrower focus of Stephen Talty's Agent Garbo (2012), veteran espionage writer and Times (London) journalist Macintyre (Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory, 2010, etc.) fashions a more expansive, ambitious tale of five double agents with dubious credentials but certain loyalties employed by the British to "cook up a diet of harmless truths, half-truths and uncheckable untruths to feed to the enemy." Double Cross was a pun on the Twenty (XX) Committee formed in January 1941 by British intelligence agencies, led by John Masterman and aimed at coordinating the work of a new strain of double agents. These included the Serbian playboy Dusko Popov (aka Tricycle), who creatively worked the Berlin-Lisbon circuit, though he failed to create an American counterpart to Double Cross because of FBI distrust (and his wild expenditures); Polish patriot Roman Czerniawski, exposed by the Germans in Nazi-occupied France and compelled to infiltrate the British spy system; the bored Peruvian gambler Elvira de la Fuente Chaudoir, known as Bronx, employed by MI6 to "coat trail" some influential Germans while larking about Vichy France; the former Spanish chicken farmer and Franco refugee Juan Pujol (aka Garbo), who managed by his confounding literary flourishes to hoodwink the Germans utterly regarding the Normandy landings; and Lily Sergeyev (aka Treasure) who cultivated her charm on Maj. Emile Kliemann of the Abwehr. While the spies were highly effective in deflecting interest in the Torch landings, and later Fortitude, the run-up to Normandy proved disastrous. Moreover, the dangers of getting picked up by the Gestapo and tortured for information was a constant danger, as in the case of Johnny Jebsen (aka Artist). Invisible ink, double-agent homing pigeons and a Hollywood double for Gen. Monty--nicely woven tales of stealth, brashness and derring-do. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 February #2

D-Day, June 6, 1944. Some 150,000 Allied troops land successfully on the beaches of Normandy, sustaining only 5000 casualties. How did they manage it? Through a vast act of deception called Operation Bodyguard aimed at persuading the Germans that attacks would come at Calais and Norway, where German armies then massed. The spies drafted to perpetuate this trickery ranged from a Polish pilot to the wild daughter of a Peruvian diplomat to a Serbian playboy code-named Agent Tricycle. Actually, sounds like a great movie; meanwhile, best-selling author Macintyre (Operation Mincemeat) should turn in an absorbing read about a little-acknowledged facet of the war.

[Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 May #2

"Any method of seeking the truth can also be used to plant a lie." Therein lies the root of the brilliantly dangerous Allied plan (which MI5 called Double Cross)--recounted by Macintyre with the same skill and suspense he displayed in Operation Mincemeat and Agent Zigzag--to throw off the Germans and launch an assault at Normandy on June 6, 1944. The key to the plan--convincing Germany that the impending attack would come either at Pas de Calais or in Norway--was the careful manipulation of five double agents, each feeding misinformation back to their German handlers. Polish zealot Roman Czerniawski volunteered his services to his German captors, only to defect to Britain and become "Agent Brutus." Serbian playboy Dusan Popov ("Agent Tricycle") became one of MI5's most prized assets. Failed Catalan chicken farmer Juan Pujol ("Agent Garbo") badgered both German and British intelligence services into accepting him, eventually becoming the linchpin of the D-Day ploy. Lily Sergeyev ("Agent Treasure"), a high-strung Frenchwoman, had the opportunity to blow the whole operation with a single punctuation mark, while Elvira de la Fuente Chaudoir ("Agent Bronx") transformed from a gambling Peruvian society girl to solid double agent. Macintyre effortlessly weaves the agents' deliciously eccentric personalities with larger wartime events to shape a tale that reads like a top-notch spy thriller. Photos, map. Agent: Ed Victor, Ed Victor Ltd. (July)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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