One imagines that MI5 was busy during World War II. But not too busy, it would seem, to take the time to investigate Agatha Christie. Why?
This sounds familiar…
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Before Ian Fleming, there was Dennis Wheatley. A best-selling spy novelist at the outset of World War II, Wheatley became a master of deception for Great Britain, turning pulp fiction fantasies into real-life espionage. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tina Rosenberg tells the amazing true story of one man who applied the plots of his own novels to the battlefield—and changed the course of history.
By the time Franco consolidated his control of a unified Spain, Juan Pujol knew how to lie. He knew how to hide. He knew how to flee and connive and take measure of the men he encountered. He saw firsthand the cruelties of both the communists and the fascists. He had faced death and survived. In other words, he realized there was more to him than he thought possible. And when a conflict more terrible than civil war began to brew, the former deserter felt the call for service. In his own words when reflecting on Hitler: “I had the idea that this man was a demon, a man who could completely destroy humanity.” The only question was how the poultry salesman might best serve the effort. As it turned out, the very skills that kept him out of one war would make him a decisive force in another.
He became a spy. Not in the submit-a-résumé-and-wait kind of way, but rather, he simply decided that he was a spy and that was that.
Read more. [Image: The U.S. Army/Flickr]
Coming Soon: Our own World War II espionage tale!
The latest issue of The New Inquiry, Spies. Be on the lookout for our own spy tale, coming out later this month!