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Ben Macintyre, author of the acclaimed books Operation Mincemeat (2010) and Agent Zigzag (2007), is a columnist for the London Times.

The Double-Cross System
John Masterman (1976)
“This is the best account of recruiting and running double agents during World War II. John Masterman was an academic historian, world class cricketer, and author of detective novels, but his crowing achievement came as chairman of the group responsible for intercepting enemy agents, ‘turning’ them, and then deploying them against the Nazis.”

Every Man Dies Alone
Hans Fallada, (1947; republished in a new translation, 2009)
“Primo Levi described this novel depicting the fear and cruelty of life in Nazi Berlin as ‘the greatest book ever written about German resistance.’ I found it utterly gripping, and extremely moving.”

The Deceivers
Thaddeus Holt (2007)
“The definitive work by the former deputy under-secretary of the U.S. Army describes the deception operations the Allies mounted in World War II: scholarly, vast, and essential.”

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
John Le Carré (1963)
“Not so much a novel about spying, as an elaborate moral conundrum exposing the hidden corners of the human heart: loyalty and betrayal, honesty and deceit, courage and cowardice, deception and self-deception.”

Beyond War
The Lost City of Z
David Grann (2009)
“Percy Harrison Fawcett was a British explorer who plunged into the Amazon in 1925 and was never seen again. Grann’s book is part travelogue, part biography, and partly a lament for a form of late-imperial adventure now long gone.”