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

79%

14 Critic Reviews

On the bill that night, Macintyre has brilliantly elected to find out and inform us, were two unknown teenagers named Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. The shock is not that this all happened, but that it wasn't so very long ago.
-Guardian

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF A SPY AMONG FRIENDS

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.
 

About Ben Macintyre

See more books from this Author
Ben Macintyre is a writer-at-large for The Times of London and the bestselling author of Operation Mincemeat, Agent Zigzag, The Napoleon of Crime, and Forgotten Fatherland, among other books.
 
Published April 26, 2010 by Broadway Books. 432 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Aug 10 2014
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Operation Mincemeat
All: 14 | Positive: 14 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Jennet Conant on May 14 2010

No novelist could create a better character than Montagu, and Macintyre bases his book on Montagu’s wartime memoir, “The Man Who Never Was,” as well as on an unpublished autobiography and personal correspondence.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on May 11 2010

The scam at the heart of this book sounds like good fun, a bit of high-level high jinks. But it was no lark. If it backfired, thousands of lives would be at stake. The men and women involved had lumps in their throats for months.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Euan Ferguson on Jan 23 2010

On the bill that night, Macintyre has brilliantly elected to find out and inform us, were two unknown teenagers named Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise. The shock is not that this all happened, but that it wasn't so very long ago.

Read Full Review of Operation Mincemeat: How a De... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Euan Ferguson on Jan 23 2010

In the story of the homeless Welsh vagrant, Glyndwr Michael, whose body proved so much more worthwhile in death than in life, there is enough pathos and tragedy to remind you that you're reading real life-or-death stuff...

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by A. Jurek on Jul 05 2010

...as much as Operation Mincemeat is about the vagaries of human knowing and the problems of interpretation of equivocal information in the intelligence game, it is also a cautionary tale about the importance of moral character and of the quality of the men themselves.

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Washington Times

Good
Reviewed by Muriel Dobbin on May 07 2010

Mr. Macintyre has done a splendid job of explaining Mincemeat, and the surreal world in which it took on a strange life. He describes how attention was paid to the most minute details...

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Thom Geier on May 05 2010

Relying on a cache of once-classified documents, Macintyre provides the fullest account yet of this curious episode and enlivens his yarn with quirky details.

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The Washington Post

Good
Reviewed by Joseph Kanon on May 30 2010

"Operation Mincemeat" has been No. 1 on the Sunday Times list in London, and no wonder. Part of the great charm of this book is that Macintyre recognizes that the ruse, in all its colorful eccentricity, plays into Britain's mythology of World War II.

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The Independent

Good
Reviewed by Clare Colvin on Feb 12 2010

Wartime espionage stretched the ingenuity of its practitioners, and one of the delights of this book is entering the corkscrew minds that inspired the world of 007.

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The Telegraph

Good
Reviewed by Keith Lowe on Feb 13 2010

With its fantastic plot and its cast of eccentric characters, the book reads like the most improbable of spy stories. It is a tribute to Macintyre’s skill that we never for a moment forget that it is actually all true.

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The Telegraph

Good
Reviewed by Andrew Lycett on Feb 07 2010

Macintyre keeps the war’s broad sweep in focus, while fleshing out the human, frequently hilarious, background to Mincemeat.

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Quick Book Reviews

Good
on Feb 14 2014

I guarantee that if you like espionage during the Second World War, you are going to adore Operation Mincemeat; it has everything you would want out of such a novel, from factual accuracy all the way to an engrossing and intelligent writing style...

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A Garden Carried in the Pocket

Good
Reviewed by Jenclair on Nov 21 2010

What makes the work so fascinating is MacIntyre's cast of characters who are so varied and so interesting--not only the individuals working for MI5, but also those who played small roles in finding, delivering, and transporting the body and in transmitting the information.

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The Objective Standard

Good
Reviewed by Daniel Wahl on Oct 16 2014

Ben Macintyre tells the story of this fantastic ruse in Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. The book may read like fiction, but remarkably, the story is completely true.

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Reader Rating for Operation Mincemeat
84%

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