While working on my various projects, I love watching K-dramas and series like The Black list, Grimm (waiting on new season), and Granite Flats. During the day, I usually do the work that takes more thought, then at night I play with details. I can embroider or hand quilt and watch my shows, but am unable to do anything like work on my clay figures or figuring out what to do next on my improvisational quilts-- so a little planning is required to have simple projects at night that I can do while watching my shows. The quilted beads are mounting up.
Because I am unable to watch television (read Netflix and Drama Fever) without having something to do with my hands.
I finished Agent ZigZag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben MacIntyre, an account of British triple agent Eddie Chapman during WWII. While I did not like it as much as MacInyre's Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory (reviewed here; gotta' love the titles), Agent ZigZag is a fascinating look at Britain's utilization of a handsome, brazen young criminal who was finally arrested and jailed on occupied Jersey, ironically, for one crime that he didn't commit. Later transferred by the Nazis to a Paris prison, Chapman agreed to work for the Germans. He was trained and eventually parachuted back into England where he immediately went to British authorities, told them what he'd learned, and offered to spy on the Germans. Fearless and feckless, Chapman provided disinformation to the Nazi Abwehr, and the Germans so trusted this thief and con man that they awarded him the Iron Cross--now that is irony, indeed.
Certainly not an admirable man in many ways, Chapman nevertheless risked his life for his country and served it well during the war years. The information MacIntyre reveals about some of the difficulties of running spies, double agents, and the outlandish triple agent named ZigZag is truly fascinating
MacIntyre's research is impeccable and his list of sources impressive.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of 2007
One of the Top 10 Best Books of 2007 (Entertainment Weekly)
New York Times Best of the Year Round-Up
New York Times Editors’ Choice
Purchased on Kindle.
WWII, Espionage. 2007. Print version: 384 pages.
In the synchronicitous way of things, I've read two fiction books concerning WWII espionage in the last week.
The Haigerloch Project is more interesting for its factual references than for the fictional characters and plot. The information about the Manhatten Project, the attempts to discover how close the Germans were to producing their own atomic bomb, and the search for ways to derail its completion is a fictional plot informed by fact.
I.B. Melchior, novelist, screenwriter, and film producer, served with the U.S. Counterintelligence Corps during WWII. A decorated war hero, Melchior participated in the liberation of the Flossenburg concentration camp and the capture of a Werwolf unit in 1945, as well as other important missions.
I found the mention of individuals in the nonfiction Agent ZigZag and the fictional Haigerloch Project, even if they received little more than a few lines, especially interesting. Most fascinating was Moe Berg, an American professional baseball player who graduated from Princeton and Columbia, spoke seven languages, and during the war, worked for the OSS special intelligence branch. Parachuting behind enemy lines, he evaluated resistance groups and worked on Project AZUSA, moving across Europe interviewing European physicists and trying to determine how close the Germans were to achieving a bomb... among other things. Berg is mentioned in both Agent ZigZag an in The Haigerloch Project.
I researched a number of things I wasn't familiar with: ALSOS, Project Larson, Haigerloch and the German reactor, and more. Melchior's bibliographic material contained, perhaps not surprisingly, many of the same sources as Ben MacIntyre's bibliography. John Masterson's and William Pasher's WWII records also intrigue me.
NetGalley/Open Road Media
WWII/Espionage. 1978 and 2014. Print version: 289 pages.
I'll get to my reviews of The Scent of Secrets and A Kind of Grief which are also connected with the theme of espionage. And I was surprised that Granite Flats, the Netflix series, moved from what initially seemed like the adventures of three kids in a small Colorado town during the Cold War to a much darker theme of espionage during and after the war. It includes elements of the Red Scare, blacklisting, and MK-Ultra. From light-hearted to some shameful episodes in American history, the series is an odd one in both style and content--but fascinating.