Synopses & Reviews
“The book presses ever forward down a path of historical marvels and astonishing facts. The effect is like a master class that’s accessible to anyone, and Agent Garbo
often reads as though it were written in a single, perfect draft.”—The Atlantic
Before he remade himself as the master spy known as Garbo, Juan Pujol was nothing more than a Barcelona poultry farmer. But as Garbo, he turned in a masterpiece of deception that changed the course of World War II. Posing as the Nazis’ only reliable spy inside England, he created an imaginary million-man army, invented armadas out of thin air, and brought a vast network of fictional subagents to life. The scheme culminated on June 6, 1944, when Garbo convinced the Germans that the Allied forces approaching Normandy were just a feint—the real invasion would come at Calais. Because of his brilliant trickery, the Allies were able to land with much less opposition and eventually push on to Berlin.
As incredible as it sounds, everything in Agent Garbo is true, based on years of archival research and interviews with Pujol’s family. This pulse-pounding thriller set in the shadow world of espionage and deception reveals the shocking reality of spycraft that occurs just below the surface of history.
“Stephan Talty’s unsurpassed research brings forth one of the war’s greatest agents in a must-read book for those who think they know all the great World War II stories.” —Gregory Freeman, author of The Forgotten 500
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The little-known World War II espionage story of Spaniard Juan Pujol, who convinced Hitlers 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.
In the tradition of Agent Zig-Zag
, a best-selling author shares the greatest of all World War II espionage stories.
One of history's greatest spies finally gets his due: Agent Garbo tells the astonishing story of a self-made secret agent who saved tens of thousands of lives. 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 — it took four tries before the British believed he was really on their side.
"Agent Garbo" turned in a masterpiece of deception worthy of his big-screen namesake. Pujol composed phony telegrams, cooked up documents, and brought a vast network of fictional sub-agents to whirring life. For his greatest performance, Pujol had to convince the German high command that the D-Day invasion of Normandy was a feint, and they should maintain troop strength at Calais instead. They bought it, keeping entire battalions near Calais for a week.
Based on years of archival research and interviews with Pujol's family, Agent Garbo is a true-life thriller set in one of history's most important theaters.
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#8212; 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 Germanyand#8217;s most valued agent and#8212; or double agent: it took four tries before the British believed he was really on the Alliesand#8217; 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 Garboand#8217;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 Pujoland#8217;s family, Agent Garbo is a true-life thriller set in the shadow world of espionage and deception.
About the Author
STEPHAN TALTY is a widely published journalist who has contributed to the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Mens Journal, Time Out New York, Details, and many other publications. He is the author of Escape from the Land of Snows, the best-selling Empire of Blue Water, The Illustrious Dead, and Mulatto America.
Table of Contents
Cast of Charactersand#8195;vii
PART I: THE MAKING OF A SPY
1. Tom Mix in Barcelonaand#8195;3
2. The Training Groundand#8195;11
4. The White Cityand#8195;35
5. The Gameand#8195;43
6. The Snakepitand#8195;55
PART II: GARBOand#8217;S RISE
7. A Fresh Riot of Ideasand#8195;65
8. The Systemand#8195;81
9. The Debutand#8195;91
10. The Blacks and the Santa Clausesand#8195;98
11. The Rehearsaland#8195;109
PART III: THE FAR SHORE
12. The Dry Runand#8195;123
13. An Intimate Deceptionand#8195;132
15. The Interloperand#8195;153
16. The Ghost Armyand#8195;167
17. The Backdropand#8195;174
18. The Buildupand#8195;186
19. The Prisonerand#8195;197
20. The Hoursand#8195;207
21. The Weaponand#8195;223
PART IV: BREAKOFF
22. The Endand#8195;235
23. The Returnand#8195;241
Appendix A: Organizationsand#8195;253
Appendix B: The Garbo Networkand#8195;255