21 June 2011

When Truth is Pulpier Than Fiction: Operation Mincemeat

Operation MincemeatOperation Mincemeat by Ben MacIntyre

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All throughout this book I kept thinking "where do they find these people!" At times WWII feels like it was a play populated with the most absurd, and yet stock, characters from all the bad pulp stories. Of course our British Intelligence hero is jewish - ah, but not just jewish, a second son from a prominent banking family - the Montagus! And don't forget that his younger brother renounces the family fortune to pursue his twin loves for communism and ping-pong (with his wife - nicknamed Hell).

But wait, that's not British enough, we need a real stiff-upper-lip type - we'll call him Charles Chemondeley and make sure he has one of thos crazy handle-bar moustaces. He'll be Montagu's partner. And hey, didn't Ian Fleming work from British Intelligence in the war? Lets bring him in too - oh heck, bring in every hack spy novelist you can find!

Ooh! And make the Nazi spy master in Spain be "cadaverous" and his boss in Madrid is secretly 1/4 jewish and so feeding bad intel to Berlin to pump-up his reputation to avoid the concentration camps. And we need a Good German too! The intelligence analyst in Berlin! We'll make him be an anti-Hitler conspirator who is lying about Allied troop levels to try and get German to lose faster!

Any thing else? Yeah, the sub that delivers the body, it isn't just some random sub. It also smugged Gen, Mark Clark into Algeria, smuggled a French general out of France (while pretending to be an American sub) and gets to be a pathfinder/beacon for the actual Husky invasion forces!

If this was a novel, any reviewer worth their salt would go nuts at the stereotypes and coincidences. And just think, this is the more heavily researched, less censored and propagandized version!

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