In 1943, from a windowless London basement office, two intelligence officers conceived a plan that was both simple & complicated—Operation Mincemeat. Purpose? To deceive the Nazis into thinking the Allies were planning to attack Europe by way of Greece or Sardinia, rather than Sicily, as the Nazis had assumed & the Allies ultimately chose. Charles Cholmondeley of MI5 & the British naval intelligence officer Ewen Montagu were very different. Cholmondeley was a dreamer seeking adventure. Montagu was an aristocratic, detail-oriented barrister. A perfect team, they created an ingenious plan: equip a corpse with secret (but false) papers concerning the invasion, then drop it off the coast of Spain where German spies would hopefully take the bait. The idea was approved by British intelligence officials, including Ian Fleming (007’s creator). Winston Churchill believed it might ring true to the Axis & help bring victory.
Filled with spies, double agents, rogues, heroes & a corpse, the story of Operation Mincemeat reads like an international thriller. Unveiling never-before-released material, Macintyre goes into the minds of intelligence officers, their moles & spies, & the German Abwehr agents who suffered the “twin frailties of wishfulness & yesmanship.” He weaves together the eccentric personalities of Cholmondeley & Montagu & their improbable feats into an adventure that saved thousands & paved the way for the conquest of Sicily.