heaven_ali (heaven_ali) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

#6 Agent Zigzag - Ben Macintyre (2007)

One December night in 1942, a Nazi parachutist landed in a Cambridgeshire field. His mission: to sabotage the British war effort. His name was Eddie Chapman, but he would shortly become MI5's Agent Zigzag. Dashing and louche, courageous and unpredictable, the traitor was a patriot inside, and the villain a hero. The problem for Chapman, his many lovers and his spymasters was knowing who he was. Ben Macintyre weaves together diaries, letters, photographs, memories and top-secret MI5 files to create the exhilarating account of Britain's most sensational double agent.

Having read a book about Bletchley park a couple of months ago - I pounced upon this world book night copy when I spotted it in a charity shop. Very glad I did, it is both fascinating and hugely readable. The life that Eddie Chapman lived almost defies belief - his life of ease and luxury with his German spymaster juxtaposes sharply with the suspicious treatment he received under the British. It's hard to know how much of Chapman's espionage was prompted by patriotism and how much by rather baser instincts. Chapman was a crook first, and it was only his wish to get out of occupied Jersey that led him to first volunteer to spy for the Germans. Yet he seems to have been genuinely fond of his German spy master, although happy enough to betray him to the British at the same time. Chapman's exploits make for great reading, and the photographs bring him and his cronies to life.

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