Agent Garbo The brilliant, eccentric secret agent who tricked Hitler and saved D-Day

Stephan Talty

Book - 2012

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Subjects
Published
Boston ; New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt c2012.
Language
English
Physical Description
xvi, 301 pages, [8] plates ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [281]-283) and index.
ISBN
9780547614816
0547614810
Main Author
Stephan Talty (-)
  • Pt. I. The Making of a Spy
  • 1. Tom Mix in Barcelona
  • 2. The Training Ground
  • 3. Araceli
  • 4. The white city 5. The Game
  • 6. The Snakepit
  • Pt. II. Garbo's Rise
  • 7. A Fresh Riot of Ideas
  • 8. The System
  • 9. The Debut
  • 10. The Blacks and the Santa Clauses
  • 11. The Rehearsal
  • Pt. III. The Far Shore
  • 12. The Dry Run
  • 13. An Intimate Deception
  • 14. Haywire
  • 15. The Interloper
  • 16. The Ghost Army
  • 17. The Backdrop
  • 18. The Build-Up
  • 19. The Prisoner
  • 20. The Hours
  • 21. The Weapon
  • Pt. IV. Breakoff
  • 22. The End
  • 23. The Return.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Most readers probably haven't heard of Juan Pujol, the Spanish hotel manager who, in January 1941, waltzed into the British Embassy in Madrid and announced that he wanted to help the Allied war effort. Nobody knew quite what to do with him, and, to be fair, he really didn't know exactly what he wanted to do—although espionage seemed a viable course of action, despite his utter lack of training or experience. Turned down by the British, Pujol came up with a stunningly audacious plan: he would approach the Germans, offer his services as a spy, gather intelligence, and then go back to the British, operating as a double agent. And here's the thing: it worked. Pujol became one of the most important and successful British double agents, manipulating the Germans to believe the most spectacular lies—such as the one that said the D-Day invasion would be at Calais, not Normandy. This is a wonderful book for WWII buffs, a true-life spy thriller with about as much intrigue and excitement as you'd find in a le Carré novel. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Epic intelligence coups of WWII unreel in this colorful caper saga. Journalist Talty (Empire of Blue Water) recounts the exploits of Juan Pujol, an idealistic Spanish chicken farmer and hotelier who ran an ingenious free-lance scam to feed German intelligence officers in Spain fabricated information from an England he had never seen, then persuaded the initially dismissive British to accept him as a double agent. Derring-do subsides to theatrical fraud once Pujols is safely ensconced in London as Agent Garbo, with a network of 27 fictitious pro-Nazi spies, including an imaginary mistress in the War Office, and a team of real British intelligence officers who scripted the misleading dispatches he radioed to the enthralled Germans. Garbo's greatest feat was to help convince Hitler to divert troops from Normandy to Calais to await a second Allied invasion that never came. Talty's Pujol is a captivating character with a talent for operatic confabulation, but Garbo is just the alluring lead in massive deceptions that the author likens to Hollywood productions, complete with rubber tanks, fake ships, and a Montgomery impersonator. The result is a rollicking story of wartime eccentrics and their labyrinthine mind games. Photos. Agent: Scott Waxman, Waxman Literary Agency. (July) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

This true-life thriller describes Juan Pujol, a poultry farmer who opposed the Nazis and concocted a series of staggering lies that lead to his becoming one of Germany's most valued spies, while actually acting as a double-agent for the Allies. 35,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Describes the life of Juan Pujol, a poultry farmer who opposed the Nazis and concocted a series of staggering lies that lead to his becoming one of Germany's most valued spies, while actually acting as a double-agent for the Allies.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The little known World War II espionage story of Spaniard Juan Pujol, who convinced Hitler's Abwehr that he had a ring of spies in Britain, only to pull off one of the greatest feats of any double agent: he fooled Hitler and disguised D-Day.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Were the D-Day landings saved from failure because of a lone secret agent?Agent Garbo tells the astonishing story of a self-made secret agent who matched wits with the best minds of the Third Reich ' and won. Juan Pujol was a nobody, a Barcelona poultry farmer determined to oppose the Nazis. Using only his gift for daring falsehoods, Pujol became Germany's most valued agent ' or double agent: it took four tries before the British believed he was really on the Allies' side.In the guise of Garbo, Pujol turned in a masterpiece of deception worthy of his big-screen namesake. He created an imaginary million-man army, invented armadas out of thin air, and brought a vast network of fictional subagents whirring to life. His unwitting German handlers believed every word, and banked on Garbo's lies as their only source of espionage within Great Britain.For his greatest performance, Pujol had to convince the German High Command that the D-Day invasion of Normandy was a feint and the real attack was aimed at Calais. The Nazis bought it, turning the tide of battle at the crucial moment.Based on years of archival research and interviews with Pujol's family, Agent Garbo is a true-life thriller set in the shadow world of espionage and deception.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

The little known World War II espionage story of Spaniard Juan Pujol, who convinced Hitler's Abwehr that he had a ring of spies in Britain, only to pull off one of the greatest feats of any double agent: he fooled Hitler and disguised D-Day.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

Were the D-Day landings saved from failure because of a lone secret agent?Agent Garbo tells the astonishing story of a self-made secret agent who matched wits with the best minds of the Third Reich — and won. Juan Pujol was a nobody, a Barcelona poultry farmer determined to oppose the Nazis. Using only his gift for daring falsehoods, Pujol became Germany’s most valued agent — or double agent: it took four tries before the British believed he was really on the Allies’ side.In the guise of Garbo, Pujol turned in a masterpiece of deception worthy of his big-screen namesake. He created an imaginary million-man army, invented armadas out of thin air, and brought a vast network of fictional subagents whirring to life. His unwitting German handlers believed every word, and banked on Garbo’s lies as their only source of espionage within Great Britain.For his greatest performance, Pujol had to convince the German High Command that the D-Day invasion of Normandy was a feint and the real attack was aimed at Calais. The Nazis bought it, turning the tide of battle at the crucial moment.Based on years of archival research and interviews with Pujol’s family, Agent Garbo is a true-life thriller set in the shadow world of espionage and deception.