eddie Chapman and the de Havilland Mosquito: Background information when reading Agent Zigzag

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Agent Zigzag

A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal

by Ben Macintyre

Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre X
Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2008, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

eddie Chapman and the de Havilland Mosquito

This article relates to Agent Zigzag

Print Review

  • After the war, Chapman dumped his various girlfriends and went back to pre-war lover Betty Farmer, who he last saw as he hurriedly extricated himself from dinner with her in order to escape the Jersey police in 1938. Their daughter, Suzanne, was born in 1954, and the Chapmans set up a health farm at Shenley Lodge in Hertfordshire (south of England), which was apparently a popular meeting place for movie stars and the Freemasons. Later, it was the settings forA Clockwork Orange (the house where Alex is caught by the police).

  • Chapman became friendly with many celebrities including Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich and Terence Young, who directed the first two James Bond films. After the war Chapman also remained friends with his German handler, Von Gröning, who by then had fallen on hard times. Chapman died in 1997 at the age of 83, having published a couple of volumes of memoirs which are considered unreliable. His widow, Betty, is still alive.

  • The 1966 movie Triple Cross, staring Christopher Plummer and directed by Terence Young, is loosely based on Chapman's life. Apparently, he was disappointed by it.

  • Eddie's first mission was to blow up a de Havilland Mosquito factory.The de Havilland Mosquito - or Anophles de havillandus, as military wags liked to call it (anophles being one of the genus of the mosquito family) had proved a lethal nuisance to the Nazis ever since it went into production in 1940. Indeed, its effect on the German High Command was positively malarial. Designed and built at the de Havilland Aircraft Company factory outside London, it was a revolutionary military aircraft. Constructed almost entirely of wood, with a two-man crew and no defensive guns, the little plane could carry four thousand pounds of bombs to Berlin. With two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines and a top speed of four hundred miles per hour, it could usually outrun enemy fighters.

    The Mosquito nicknamed "the Wooden Wonder," could be assembled, cheaply by cabinetmakers and carpenters. It could be used for low-level daylight raids, photo-reconnaissance, night fighting, U-boat killing, mine-laying, and transport, but its main task was target bombing - and being so light and accurate, it could destroy a single building with minimal harm to civilians. Two notable missions completed by the Mosquito were the attacks on the Shell-building in Copenhagen, the Gestapo's headquarters in Denmark; and the Amiens jail, where 100 French Resistance fighters were about to be executed - 150 Resistance members escaped to fight another day.

    Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring was not amused; apparently he was heard to say, "I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminum better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed that they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing that the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set - then at least I'll own something that has always worked."

Interesting Links
Chapman'sobituary from the Daily Telegraph
A British police photo ofChapman in 1942.
Another photo of him taken in1967.

Filed under People, Eras & Events

This "beyond the book article" relates to Agent Zigzag. It originally ran in October 2007 and has been updated for the August 2008 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Black Sun
    Black Sun
    by Rebecca Roanhorse
    Reading the first book in a series is always difficult because readers know that, by definition, it ...
  • Book Jacket: Somewhere in the Unknown World
    Somewhere in the Unknown World
    by Kao Kalia Yang
    Resettled refugees are mostly invisible. Their needs are rarely publicized and their struggles are ...
  • Book Jacket: The Orchard
    The Orchard
    by David Hopen
    The protagonist of David Hopen's first novel, The Orchard, is 17-year-old Aryeh Eden, a Brooklyn boy...
  • Book Jacket: What Are You Going Through
    What Are You Going Through
    by Sigrid Nunez
    Shortly into What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez, it becomes clear that the narrator is ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
    by Ursula Hegi

    Set on a German island in 1878, perfect for fans of Water for Elephants.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.