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Double Cross
Cover of Double Cross
Double Cross
The True Story of the D-Day Spies
In Double Cross, New York Times bestselling author Ben Macintyre returns with the untold story of one of the greatest deceptions of World War II, and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it.
On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring Allied victory at the most pivotal point in the war.
This epic event has never before been told from the perspective of the key individuals in the Double Cross system, until now. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross's nucleus: a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard, and a volatile Frenchwoman. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time.
With the same depth of research, eye for the absurd and masterful storytelling that have made Ben Macintyre an international bestseller, Double Cross is a captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler's army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the Channel in safety.
In Double Cross, New York Times bestselling author Ben Macintyre returns with the untold story of one of the greatest deceptions of World War II, and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it.
On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy and suffered an astonishingly low rate of casualties. D-Day was a stunning military accomplishment, but it was also a masterpiece of trickery. Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialized in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing that the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy. It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring Allied victory at the most pivotal point in the war.
This epic event has never before been told from the perspective of the key individuals in the Double Cross system, until now. These include its director (a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer), a colorful assortment of MI5 handlers (as well as their counterparts in Nazi intelligence), and the five spies who formed Double Cross's nucleus: a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard, and a volatile Frenchwoman. The D-Day spies were, without question, one of the oddest military units ever assembled, and their success depended on the delicate, dubious relationship between spy and spymaster, both German and British. Their enterprise was saved from catastrophe by a shadowy sixth spy whose heroic sacrifice is revealed here for the first time.
With the same depth of research, eye for the absurd and masterful storytelling that have made Ben Macintyre an international bestseller, Double Cross is a captivating narrative of the spies who wove a web so intricate it ensnared Hitler's army and carried thousands of D-Day troops across the Channel in safety.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Dusko and Johnny were friends. Their friendship was founded on a shared appreciation of money, cars, parties, and women, in no particular order and preferably all at the same time. Their relationship, based almost entirely on frivolity, would have a profound impact on world history.

    Dusan "Dusko" Popov and Johann "Johnny" Jebsen met in 1936 at the University of Freiburg in southern Germany. Popov, the son of a wealthy Serbian industrialist from Dubrovnik, was twenty-five. Jebsen, the heir to a large shipping company, was two years older. Both were spoiled, charming, and feckless. Popov drove a BMW; Jebsen, a supercharged Mercedes 540K convertible. This inseparable pair of international playboys roistered around Freiburg, behaving badly. Popov was a law student, while Jebsen was taking an economics degree, the better to manage the family firm. Neither did any studying at all. "We both had some intellectual pretensions," wrote Popov, but "[we were] addicted to sports cars and sporting girls and had enough money to keep them both running."

    Popov had a round, open face, with hair brushed back from a high forehead. Opinion was divided on his looks: "He smiles freely showing all his teeth and in repose his face is not unpleasant, though certainly not handsome," wrote one male contemporary. He had "a well-flattened, typically Slav nose, complexion sallow, broad shoulders, athletic carriage, but rather podgy, white and well-kept hands," which he waved in wild gesticulation. Women frequently found him irresistible, with his easy manners, "loose, sensual mouth," and green eyes behind heavy lids. He had what were then known as "bedroom eyes"; indeed, the bedroom was his main focus of interest. Popov was an unstoppable womanizer. Jebsen cut a rather different figure. He was slight and thin, with dark blond hair, high cheekbones, and a turned‑up nose. Where Popov was noisily gregarious, Jebsen was watchful. "His coldness, aloofness, could be forbidding, yet everyone was under his spell," Popov wrote. "He had much warmth too, and his intelligence was reflected in his face, in the alertness of his steel-blue eyes. He spoke abruptly, in short phrases, hardly ever used an adjective and was, above all, ironic." Jebsen walked with a limp and hinted that this was from an injury sustained in some wild escapade: in truth it was caused by the pain of varicose veins, to which he was a secret martyr. He loved to spin a story, to "deliberately stir up situations to see what would happen." But he also liked to broker deals. When Popov was challenged to a sword duel over a girl, it was Jebsen, as his second, who quietly arranged a peaceful solution, to Popov's relief, "not thinking my looks would be improved by a bright red cicatrix."

    Jebsen's parents, both dead by the time he arrived in Freiburg, had been born in Denmark but adopted German citizenship when the shipping firm Jebsen & Jebsen moved to Hamburg. Jebsen was born in that city in 1917 but liked to joke that he was really Danish, his German citizenship being a "flag of convenience" for business purposes: "Some of my love of my country has to do with so much of it actually belonging to me." A rich, rootless orphan, Jebsen had visited Britain as a teenager and returned a committed Anglophile: he affected English manners, spoke English in preference to German, and dressed, he thought, "like a young Anthony Eden, conservatively elegant." Popov remarked: "He would no more go without an umbrella than without his trousers."

    Preoccupied as they were with having fun, the two student friends could not entirely ignore the menacing political changes taking place around them in the Germany of the 1930s. They made a point of...

About the Author-
  • BEN MACINTYRE is a writer-at-large for The Times of London and the bestselling author of A Spy Among Friends, Double Cross, Operation Mincemeat, and Agent Zigzag, among other books. Macintyre has also written and presented BBC documentaries of his work.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 14, 2012
    “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.

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2012
    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(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2012

    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.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • London Evening Standard
    "Enthralling....Macintyre is a master at leading the reader down some very tortuous paths while ensuring they never lose their bearings. He's terrific, too, at animating his characters with the most succinct of touches....gripping."
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