Operation Mincemeat

Ben Macintyre

Ben Macintyre’s number-one bestseller Operation Mincemeat is the definitive account of the Second World War’s greatest military deception: a daring hoax that fooled Hitler and changed the course of history.

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‘Pure catnip to fans of WW2 thrillers and a lot of fun for everyone else.’
  1. Washington Post

Operation Mincemeat was one of the most audacious deception missions ever pulled off by Churchill’s spies, altering the course of the Second World War, sending German forces on a wild goose chase and saving thousands of Allied lives. Ben Macintyre’s number-one bestseller tells how British Intelligence set adrift a body off the Spanish coast, one spring morning in 1943 – apparently the remains of a drowned Royal Marine, with a briefcase of top-secret battle plans for the invasion of Sicily. As their explosive revelations percolated through the Nazi ranks, all the way up to Hitler himself, only a select few knew the truth. The corpse was a Welsh homeless person, and every document was a carefully crafted fake.

Published to coincide with Operation Mincemeat’s 80th anniversary, the Folio edition includes maps, original documents and 24 plates of pictures, including portraits of the spymasters who perpetrated the hoax and the colourful cast of agents, officials and civilians drawn into its web.

Quarter-bound in cloth with printed and blocked paper sides

Set in Dante with Gill Sans as display

448 pages

24 pages of black & white photographs plus 27 integrated photographs and 2 maps

Printed endpapers

Printed slipcase

9½˝ x 6¼˝

‘A rollicking read for all those who enjoy a spy story so fanciful that Ian Fleming – himself an officer in Montagu’s wartime department – would never have dared to invent it.’
  1. Max Hastings The Sunday Times

As Ben Macintyre traces Operation Mincemeat from a smoke-filled basement in Whitehall to the Führer’s desk via Scotland, Spain and Germany, he encounters a cast of characters straight from the pages of a James Bond thriller. Indeed, 007’s creator, Ian Fleming, has a walk-on part in the hoax, masterminded by a nervy RAF flight lieutenant with a ‘corkscrew mind’, and a whip-smart Jewish barrister. The players include a haughty pathologist, a beautiful secret-service secretary, a devil-may-care submarine captain, three novelists, a German intelligence chief with anti-Nazi leanings, a cross-dressing English spymaster, and Glyndwr Michael – the unlamented homeless person plucked from a mortuary to play the part of ‘Major William Martin’ after his lonely death. Operation Mincemeat is superbly researched military history with the pace, twists and suspense of the greatest spy stories, written by a master of espionage non-fiction.

Ben Macintyre is associate editor and a columnist for The Times, having previously been the paper’s correspondent in New York, Paris and Washington. He studied history at St John’s College, Cambridge, and his books have focused on historical subjects – often related to espionage and the Second World War. The Napoleon of Crime, a biography of the 19th century criminal Adam Worth, won early acclaim; since then Macintyre has written studies of Ian Fleming, the Cambridge spies and the history of the SAS, among other topics. Five of his books have been adapted as BBC documentaries. Agent Sonya, Macintyre’s biography of an exceptional Soviet agent, was a BBC Radio 4 book of the week. Most recently he is the author of Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle, published in 2022.


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