Double Cross by Ben MacintyreMy rating:
Double Cross is a historical account of espionage in World War II, and in particular the story of the spies who fed a barrage of lies to the German government in the run up to D-Day. The book is packed with quotes from the original, recently declassified, documents, which have been carefully selected to tell a compelling story. I was particularly astonished to learn that one woman was keeping a private diary of all her activities, presumably without the knowledge of her handlers on either side.
For such a serious subject, this is easy reading, and there are several humourous moments - from one pigeon fancier's determination that his birds simply must have a decisive role to play in the war, to British case handlers competing over the number of German medals awarded to their agents. But it was also tense in parts: although everyone knows the outcome of D-Day itself, the fates of individual agents are seldom reported, and I really wasn't sure which of this book's central characters would make it through the war in safety. (I won't spoil that for you.)
Thought-provoking stuff, especially how many times the whole operation teetered on the edge of collapse - and how dramatically that could have changed the course of history.