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Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

Ben Macintyre.
Publisher Broadway  
Format paperback
ISBN 9780307353412
Pages/Publication Date 364/2008
Daedalus Item Code 38958
This item is not available.
(A Washington Post Best Book of 2007 and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year) Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced, whose now-declassified story is finally told in this gripping historical biography—the first of Ben Macintyre's trio of World War II espionage histories, followed by Operation Mincemeat and Double Cross. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero—the problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began. In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was parachuted into Britain with a revolver, a wireless, and a cyanide pill, with orders from the Abwehr to blow up an airplane factory. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, Chapman worked as a double agent, a lone British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service who at one time volunteered to assassinate Hitler for his countrymen. The Nazis feted Chapman as a hero and awarded him the Iron Cross. In Britain, he was pardoned for his crimes, becoming the only wartime agent to be thus rewarded, while both countries provided for the mother of his child and his mistress.

"Past writers have attempted to recount this fascinating bit of history, but lack of information and official censorship have kept the full story from being told. Thanks to Britain's Freedom of Information Act, Eddie Chapman's voluminous MI5 files are now available to the public, and Ben Macintyre has made full use of them in this riveting tale. Critics unanimously praised Macintyre's talents: his fluid writing style, his ability to build suspense, and his biting humor. Vivid descriptions, deft characterizations, and exhilarating action scenes (as well as secret codes, invisible ink, explosives disguised as household objects, parachute drops, cyanide capsules, and beautiful women) put Agent Zigzag on a par with any great spy novel or thriller."—Bookmarks Magazine

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