Book Review: Agent ZigZag by Ben MacIntyre

Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The stories that keep coming out of the Second World War never cease to amaze me! The recently opened files on Eddie Chapman have yielded just one more incredible episode to the spying legends of that war. The blatant audacity of Chapman, not only in his pre-war life as a safecracker but also during the actual conflict as a successful double agent for the British, shows how the talent of a man with street smarts can be educated to go undercover as an agent and be able to fool even the keenest minds of the German spy catchers who interviewed him repeatedly. At several points during the book, I wondered how Chapman would be able to continue to fool his German masters, or whether he wasn’t perhaps a very cleaver triple agent who was able to give just enough to the British as well as the Germans to keep them both on the string right up to the end of the war. I loved the method of coding, having read of several other methods in the past, but was unfamiliar with this use of a single word with the clever number assignment system. MI6 missed out on a great opportunity to recruit Chapman after the war when his work with MI5 was over. He would have been an invaluable asset in the Cold War and in helping hunt down the fleeing Nazi criminals in the far-flung corners of the world. Enjoy this well researched and well-written book. There are few books that tell a spy’s true story so vividly.

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