Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter by Robert Hutton is the true story of Eric Roberts, a bank clerk who worked with MI5 during World War II to try and find Nazi sympathizers and informers in wartime Britain. Mr. Hutton is a political correspondent for Bloomberg.
- 336 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250221765
My rating for Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter — 4
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This book is about another Invisible Heroes of World War II, a man pretending to be a Gestapo agent in England. Eric Roberts, a bored clerk, starts to work for the intelligence services by infiltrating fascists movements, analyzing whether or not they can do damage to national security.
Mr. Roberts worked under his real name, but when it came to take on the personality of a Gestapo agent, he went under “Jack King”. Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter by Robert Hutton tells his story in a compelling and fascinating manner. MI5 has been worried about the “fifth column”, a group of people trying to undermine the English government from within, welcoming the Nazis once they invade.
While I’m sure that working undercover, especially with extremists, is dangerous. However many of Mr. Roberts’ contacts were just bumbling Nazis trying to gain favor when the invasion happen. Every now and then Mr. Roberts would encounter an actual competent traitor, such as Marita Perigoe, who could have done serious damage to England if she wasn’t stopped. While the rest were fumbling around, some of the information they gave to the fake Gestapo agent would have been very meaningful and damaging if it fell into the wrong hands.
What was interesting to me, and the author did touch on it, was how Mr. Roberts could explain his lack of uniform to the people surrounding him. As it were, he said he was a consciousness objector, which made the life of his family, especially that of his school age son, very difficult as many of the other fathers were serving on the front-lines.
The book is expertly researched with extensive notes and bibliographical information. There are many photos and illustrations throughout as well as a list of characters to make it easier to follow. While I thought the narrative was a bit dry here and there, I realized that no one ever said that the inner workings of real spy agencies are glamorous to being with.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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