Deathly Deception: The Real Story of Operation Mincemeat

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Overview

A gripping new account of the audacious World War Two intelligence plan to mislead Hitler and his Generals that opened the way for the Allied invasion of Southern Europe in the summer of 1943. Described by Hugh Trevor-Roper as 'the most spectacular single episode in the history of deception' and immortalized in the classic film The Man Who Never Was, the story of Operation Mincemeat is both fascinating history and thrilling spy story in one.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Smyth, a professor of history at the University of Toronto, applies the research and analytic skills of his discipline to a subject primarily addressed by general audience writers. The story of Operation Mincemeat is familiar: it was an elaborate ruse to distract the Germans from a planned invasion of Sicily by leading them to believe Greece was the Allied target. In early 1943, British Intelligence produced a briefcase containing documents alluding to the purported Aegean campaign. They invented an officer’s identity, found a body to fit, and released the corpse and briefcase from a submarine. “The man who never was” washed ashore in Franco’s Spain, and the Nazis eventually swallowed Mincemeat whole. Smyth sacrifices none of the dramatic details of the plan’s construction and implementation, down to reconfirming the identity of the man who became “Major William Martin.” Smyth completes the story in three ways. He presents the complex processes of the false information’s evaluation by German intelligence, the high command, and Hitler himself. Second, he describes the painstaking method by which the British verified Mincemeat’s progress. And third, he relates the vital achievement of Allied intelligence to convince the military commanders to undertake the deception. As a strategic success, Mincemeat has few rivals and no superiors. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Aug.)
Library Journal
When the Allies decided to invade Sicily in summer 1943, they floated the body of a British military officer ashore in German-friendly Spain with the hope that the documents he carried would influence the Germans to believe that the Greek islands or Sardinia would be the Allies' actual target—and the ruse appeared to work. First told in Ewen Montagu's The Man Who Never Was, which was made into a film, Smyth's (history & international relations, Univ. of Toronto; Diplomacy and Strategy of Survival) new account is a veritable administrative history of both sides. Recently declassified records provide many new details about this deadly brain game between skilled opponents; the book also benefits from amusing profiles of the brilliant but eccentric personalities involved. What comes through is how important chance can be for intelligence activities and how one can quietly work to improve the odds. Smyth identifies the man whose body was used for "Major Martin" and thoroughly documents this work with endnotes and a bibliography. VERDICT This fascinating story is told with new thoroughness. Recommended for all studying World War II intelligence activities. Ben McIntyre's Operation Mincemeat is oriented more for popular readers, and both books identify the same man as the corpse. (Index and photos not seen.)—Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL
From the Publisher

"Smyth completes the story... He presents the complex processes of the false information's evaluation by German intelligence, the high command, and Hitler himself. Second, he describes the painstaking method by which the British verified Mincemeat's progress. And third, he relates the vital achievement of Allied intelligence to convince the military commanders to undertake the deception. As a strategic success, Mincemeat has few rivals and no superiors." --Publishers Weekly

"This fascinating story is told with new thoroughness. Recommended for all studying World War II intelligence activities." -- Library Journal

"What comes through most clearly in Smyth's book is the incredible complexity of the undertaking...It is fascinating stuff, much like a police procedural on television, and more than a little ghoulish." -- HistoryNet.com

"Readers are likely to find this book impossible to put down once started and impossible to forget once finished." --Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199233984
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Denis Smyth has been a Professor in the Department of History and the International Relations Program at the University of Toronto since 1985. His previous publications have dealt with the diplomacy and strategy of the Great Powers during the twentieth century and he has edited a number of volumes in the British Documents on Foreign Affairs series.

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Table of Contents

List of Plates xvii

List of Abbreviations xix

Prologue 1

1 Accidental Conception 6

2 Medical Consultation 22

3 Grand Stratagem 47

4 A Sea of Troubles 64

5 Loud and Clear 78

6 Tailor-Made 96

7 Brief Encounter 122

8 Travel Arrangements 149

9 Mincemeat Digested 188

10 Mincemeat Dissected 230

Epilogue 269

Appendix 281

Notes 286

Bibliography 337

Index 353

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