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Paperback Operation Mincemeat : How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory Book

ISBN: 0307453286

ISBN13: 9780307453280

Operation Mincemeat : How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory

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Book Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF A SPY AMONG FRIENDS In 1943, from a windowless basement office in London, two brilliant intelligence officers conceived a plan that was both simple and complicated-- Operation Mincemeat. The purpose? To deceive the Nazis into thinking that Allied forces were planning to attack southern Europe by way of Greece or Sardinia, rather than Sicily, as the Nazis had assumed, and the Allies ultimately chose. Charles Cholmondeley...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

An Intricate, Tricky, Brilliant Plot

You may well be aware that in World War II the British played a fine trick on the Germans by letting them find a floating a body bearing bogus secret invasion plans. This is a well known and factual story, which was the basis of a 1956 film The Man Who Never Was. It might seem an easy enough trick, but the Nazis and their military intelligence branch Abwehr were no fools. The deception was one of astonishing intricacy, and has not been told in full until now. Ben Macintyre, who has given us fine presentations of slices of WWII history in _Agent Zigzag_ and of WWI in _The Englishman's Daughter_, turns his researcher's doggedness and storytelling skill to the tale of probably the greatest of military deceptions. _Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Ensured an Allied Victory_ (Harmony Books) is a grand story, full of colorful and odd characters on both sides of the battle, and it traces the plot from its conception through the victory it brought. The plotters were careful to work their scheme down to the smallest of details, and it was because of this that the trick succeeded (and also because of a good deal of luck and because of taking advantage of the wishful thinking of individuals within German intelligence). All the details are here, and it is an exciting tale. The point of the deception was to fool Germany about where Allied forces would land coming from the southern Mediterranean. Hitler had to be convinced that the push from Africa would not be to the obvious Sicily, but that the canny Allies were going to head toward Sardinia to the west and Greece to the east. The idea man whose "corkscrew mind" was most responsible for the corpse trick was Charles Cholmondeley (pronounced "Chumly"), a gangling giant with a six inch waxed mustache, who worked for MI5. His boss was Ewan Montagu, a wealthy barrister who had become an intelligence officer for the war. There were plenty of other contributors, including the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming, who worked in intelligence during the war and had found the corpse plot - "A Suggestion (not a very nice one)" - in a detective novel. Macintyre has revealed that the body was that of Glyndwr Michael, a homeless Welshman who was found dead in London after eating rat poison, deliberately or by accident. Poor Michael had been a nobody when alive; when dead he was to change the course of history. It would not do just to put phony secret plans upon the body and float it away. Anything that might raise a Nazi eyebrow had to be anticipated. A new uniform, for instance, would look suspect, so Cholmondeley put on Marine battle dress and wore it every day for three months while the body was on ice. The secret plans were sealed carefully, including a deliberately-placed eyelash that would stay in their folds if they were undisturbed, but would fall out if they were opened. The body was taken by submarine to Spain, where it washed up as planned. The resul

A Rollicking Good Read!

This book is a great read, and a lot of fun into the bargain. This is the story of a little-known British anti-Nazi espionage plan to divert attention from D-Day in Sicily. There has been brief mention of this tale in several books concerning the British spy systems during WWII, But never before have all of the actual real-life details been revealed. If you enjoy reading of the derring-do exploits of some during war time, this is the book for you. If you are interested in the history of WWII, this is the book for you, if you enjoy spy stories- this will suit you to a "T". The tale begins inauspiciously enough with the combination of a poor Welsh laborer and aristocratic MI5 officers, it proceeds through a poor Spanish fisherman and the halls of power in Germany to Hitler's desk! The results of all of this chicanery are astonishing, resulting in a triumph for the Allied forces that leads to a successful invasion of Italy. This tale encompasses stolen bodies, massive cover-ups by the British government, a veritable warren of European spies, and a submarine. The book is well written and consuming, the type of book that one reads in 1 day, because one can not bear to put it down until all plot twists are revealed. The review copy did not have many illustrations, but I would imagine that the final book itself will be well-provided with images of the protagonists, doesn't matter- the book grips you with vivid descriptions and thumbnail sketches of it's own. For all WWII buffs, lovers of European history, spy thriller fans and many others, this is the book for you. Hugely recommended !

Tasty Mincemeat

I came across this story in the 1950s as a schoolboy reading "The Man who Never Was" and seeing the movie. I didn't think there was much more to tell until I read this book, where a combination of new facts (like the Enigma machine) and Ben Macintyre's easy style made me happy to read it again. In 1943 the Allies were victorious in Africa, driving Rommel's Afrika Corps back to Italy. The next step was to invade some part of Europe, and "Operation Husky" was to take the fight to Italy. The Allies deluded the Nazis into thinking that the main attack on Sicily was just a diversion, and that the attack would fall on Greece and Corsica. Troops and weapons would be stationed in other places than Sicily, so the invasion would meet less resistance. The plan was outrageous, and the central figure was a dead man. The British made the Germans believe that this was a courier whose plane had crashed off the Southern Atlantic coast of Spain. Spain was ostensibly neutral, but there was a strong Nazi diplomatic presence and many Nazi sympathizers in Spain's bureaucracy. The Spanish officials, it was hoped, would let the Germans copy letters in the dead man's briefcase, and forward their finding to Berlin. The story moves from London to Wales (where the dead man came from), to Scotland where he was placed on a submarine which released the body off the Spanish coast. As the story unfolds, Ben Macintyre describes the scene and is particularly good at portraying the major characters. It would be very easy to slip into stereotypical Allied and Nazi personalities, but Macintyre shows that the cast comprises a part-Jewish German officer and an English racing car driver, and you soon get the feeling that you know these people. Macintyre shows the same skill as he did in his earlier book - "Agent Zigzag." The writing never flags and you want to know how things turned out. The book almost descends into farce when the Spanish have the documents, but aren't letting the Germans look at them, while the British have to both act like they want the documents to remain a secret while privately hoping that the Germans will be taken in by them. I chose this book because I like military history, but even if you don't I think you be carried along by it. Good writing and a great story make this one to take notice of. And of course, if you've never heard the tale before, Macintyre is the ideal guide.

A masterwork of historical storytelling

Having read numerous spy novels over the years, I am proud to say that "Operation Mincemeat" is far better than the vast majority. It is riveting, insightful, exciting, and incredibly difficult to put down. The author demonstrates intimate knowledge of his subject matter with exhaustive research and shares his enthusiasm with wit and style. I want to particularly acknowledge the vivid characterizations throughout the book, each of which brings to life a real-life persona, even those with only passing relevance to the story, in a way that adds to the excitement and drama of this successful wartime operation. The author assumes at the start that most readers have heard of "Operation Mincemeat" and know the basics. However, not being an World War II enthusiast of any sort, I knew nothing of this story prior to picking up this book. Setting aside any apprehension, I dove straight in, and I don't regret a moment of the time spent soaking up all of the vivid details. I can safely say that even war history novices with no prior knowledge of this bold World War II intelligence operation will never be lost or confused. This is remarkable non-fiction storytelling at its finest, and I would not hesitate to recommend this title to everyone.

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II Mentions in Our Blog

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II in 7 Super Spies
7 Super Spies
Published by Hugo Munday • November 02, 2015

The latest in the James Bond movie franchise is released this month and I'll go. It's not a book by Ian Fleming, most of the ideals of the movie are outdated and corny, but out of allegiance to my childhood, I'll go.

This week you can use the code ASTON at Thrift Books to get a 15% discount on books in the Spy Stories and Tales of Intrigue genre, so that got me digging up a lot that wasn't related to James Bond. Much of it would make, or even has made, block-buster movie scripts and so it follows that we have some good books too. Starting with the interesting and working up to mind-blowing...

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