The Man Who Never Was
Contributor: David Stubblebine
Review Date: 14 Aug 2009
Full Title: The Man Who Never Was: World War II's Boldest Counterintelligence Operation
Thus Ewen Montagu begins telling his true story as a Royal Navy intelligence officer overseeing one of the most audacious wartime misdirections imaginable - and it worked.
All Montagu and his team had to do was to procure the body of an otherwise healthy young British man who died of natural causes that were similar to death by exposure, dress him up in a Royal Marine officer's uniform as if he were a courier, plant false "Top Secret" invasion plans on the body, and then release the body from a submarine into the Atlantic so that it would wash up on the Spanish coast where Nazi agents were known to operate. All that was left was for the Germans to verify the cover story through their agents in Britain (a cover story that Montagu's team also dreamt up) and decide to move their forces to guard against an Allied invasion that never came in Greece while the real invasion landed in Sicily against weakened resistance. Nothing to it!
Besides being an extremely elaborate plan fraught with many logistical challenges, it is told in a wonderfully British writing style that makes this already exciting spy thriller almost impossible to put down. The book was first published in the US in 1953 and then re-released in 2001. The story was very faithfully recreated in the 1956 movie of the same name starring Clifton Webb as Montagu. I first read this book as a teenager and saw the film a short time later. I would recommend either or both to anyone, and especially to those with an interest in WW2 history.
Back to Main | Back to Book Reviews Index
Did you enjoy this article? Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.
Share this article with your friends:
Stay updated with WW2DB:
Visitor Submitted Comments
All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.
» Operation Mincemeat
- » 1,076 biographies
- » 331 events
- » 37,333 timeline entries
- » 1,062 ships
- » 334 aircraft models
- » 187 vehicle models
- » 349 weapon models
- » 105 historical documents
- » 213 facilities
- » 463 book reviews
- » 26,413 photos
- » 314 maps
General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944