Thursday, June 17, 2010

What We're Reading - Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre

If you are two British WWII intelligence operatives, Charles Cholmondeley of MI5 and British naval intelligence officer Ewen Montagu, how do you go about convincing the Nazis that the Allied Forces are not going to invade Sicily so that Axis troops are not reinforced? Well, read Operation Mincemeat: How a dead man and a bizarre plan fooled the Nazis and assured an Allied victory by Ben Macintyre and you'll be vastly entertained to learn how this bizarre plan was realized. Take one dead body, add forged documents and false stories indicating phony invasion plans, a submarine ride to deliver the body off the coast of Spain, and you've only just begun. Sprinkle liberally with an assortment of characters, including a racecar driver with incredibly poor eyesight, spies of all sorts [one of which is a table tennis-playing Russian agent who is the brother of Montagu!], double agents [the infamous Agent Garbo] and more than enough reasons for failure, and you too will discover that the old adage of "truth is stranger than fiction" once again prevails, thankfully for the Allies in WWII and fortunately for readers looking for a engrossing espionage tale. Montagu wrote his own account of Operation Mincemeat in the early 1950s; Macintyre presents a much more comprehensive book, in that many of the details are no longer classified and the identity of the corpse used in the deception can be revealed.

For more Operation Mincemeat "fun," watch the DVD The Man Who Never Was, based upon Montagu's account of the events.

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