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. Read more...
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.
- ISBN-13: 9780547614816
- ISBN-10: 0547614810
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publish Date: July 2012
- Page Count: 301
- Dimensions: 1.25 x 6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.18 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-04-16
- Reviewer: Staff
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)