Sunday, 13 November 2011

Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre

Agent Zigzag by Ben Maciintyre is the incredible but true story of the most notorious double agents not only of World War 2 but perhaps of all time.

Eddie Chapman was a somewhat problematic mixture of a variety of disparate and conflicting strands. He was a soldier (cashiered due to not bothering to go back after a period of leave) an expert jelly man (using gelignite to crack safes) a thief, a rogue, one of the most charming and personable and likeable men you would ever possibly meet, a villain, a man of great courage, a lover, a man conscience.

Trapped in a prison on Jersey, Chapman was on the island when it was overrun by the Nazis. He hit on a cunning plan. What if he told the Germans that he would be willing to spy on Great Britain?

Eventually, after a series of mishaps, blunders and errors (not of Chapman's making) he was parachuted into a field in Cambridgeshire.

Soon he was working for British Intelligence as Agent Zigzag, the most successful double agent every used by MI5 to trick the Germans.

Macintyre was allowed absolutely unprecedented access to the Top Secret archives of MI5 which contained a wealth of information about the extraordinary life and career of Eddie Chapman.

An official report by MI5 said: "The story of Eddie Chapman is different. In fiction it would be rejected as improbable."

The book is extremely well researched and superbly written and well illustrated with copious photographs many from the official archives of MI5 and the German Abwehr.

Chapman, however, never received the recognition that he deserved. Macintyre was able to establish that this was due to the double dealing and perfidy of an MI5 official who was not only a disgraced drunk but who only got the job because of a family connection, but who took against Chapman for some, to be frank, bizarre reasons.

Thebook is published by in paperback at £7.99. though if you follow this link you can buy the book at a special discounted Amazon price of £4.55.

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