“Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began. Based on recently declassified files, Agent Zigzag tells Chapman’s full story for the first time. It’s a gripping tale of loyalty, love, treachery, espionage, and the thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal.”
What I thought:
This is a fascinating and brilliantly written account of one of Britain’s WW2 Double Agents, Eddie Chapman (alisa Agent Zigzag). Chapman, who started out life in the north east of England, born into a working class family, ran away from school and home and made his way down to the big smoke where he did indeed find his fortune (albeit by criminal means). Marrying one woman, making another pregnant and dating a third, he was evetually captured on the island of Jersey where he spent time in jail before managing to persuade the Germans, who occupied the island during the war, that he could become a huge asset to them for spying on Britain. So how then did he come to spy for Britain also and become one of Britains most valuable weapons against the Germans?
This is a book that makes you feel like you are reading about a Hollywood blockbuster complete with such incredulous details that it couldn’t possibly be true – only it is. Beginning with Chapman being dropped from the sky by a German plane into a field in Norfolk to begin his spying, and working back to his humble beginnings and ultimately on to his double agent days.
You couldn’t make it up.
(This book is from my own personal collection)