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

Written by:
Ben Macintyre
Narrated by:
John Lee

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2010
11 hours 19 minutes
Ben Macintyre’s Agent Zigzag was hailed as “rollicking, spellbinding” (New York Times), “wildly improbable but entirely true” (Entertainment Weekly), and, quite simply, “the best book ever written” (Boston Globe). In his new book, Operation Mincemeat, he tells an extraordinary story that will delight his legions of fans.

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 of MI5 and the British naval intelligence officer Ewen Montagu could not have been more different. Cholmondeley was a dreamer seeking adventure. Montagu was an aristocratic, detail-oriented barrister. But together they were the perfect team and created an ingenious plan: Get a corpse, equip it with secret (but false and misleading) papers concerning the invasion, then drop it off the coast of Spain where German spies would, they hoped, take the bait. The idea was approved by British intelligence officials, including Ian Fleming (creator of James Bond). Winston Churchill believed it might ring true to the Axis and help bring victory to the Allies.

Filled with spies, double agents, rogues, fearless heroes, and one very important corpse, the story of Operation Mincemeat reads like an international thriller.

Unveiling never-before-released material, Ben Macintyre brings the reader right into the minds of intelligence officers, their moles and spies, and the German Abwehr agents who suffered the “twin frailties of wishfulness and yesmanship.” He weaves together the eccentric personalities of Cholmondeley and Montagu and their near-impossible feats into a riveting adventure that not only saved thousands of lives but paved the way for a pivotal battle in Sicily and, ultimately, Allied success in the war.
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Maynard B.

A wonderful story.

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Steve Heller

If you have read many of my reviews, you know that one of my primary complaints about a majority of non-fiction books is that they are long magazine articles that the author has padded into a "book" by saying the same thing over and over again. This book is a refreshing change. The author fills the book with much related information, backgrounds of players, analysis, and just well-written stories. He sticks to the point, too. A model of how a non-fiction book on a single episode should be done and a fun read.

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Carol C.

A fascination story of courage, ingenuity, and luck, as well as a glimpse into an era of global upheaval.

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This is the detailed history of an important allied espionage victory during World War II. Pieces of the story have appeared before in articles, books, and a movies; but this is the real thing. The author traces the lives of the characters involved from well before their involvement in the story and for most of them until death. In the early stages, this borders on tedious, but sticking with it pays off as the story develops. A cameo appearance by Ian Fleming is a plus. The narrator's volume dynamics from near-shout to whisper in the same phrase makes it hard to hear in an automobile. This problem improved after the first couple of CDs, so I'd encourage listeners to hang in there.

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