He fought on both sides in the Spanish Civil War. He was awarded the Iron Cross by Hitler and an MBE by Britain. To MI5 he was known as Garbo. To the Abwehr, he was Alaric. He also went by Rags the Indian Poet, Mrs Gerbers, Stanley the Welsh Nationalist – and 24 other names. He tricked Hitler over D-Day. He was the greatest double agent in history.
But who, exactly, was Juan Pujol?
Using his intimate knowledge of Spain and his skills as a crime novelist, Jason Webster tells for the first time the full true story of the character who captured the imagination in Ben Macintyre’s Double Cross. He tells of Pujol’s early life in Spain, his determination to fight totalitarianism and his strange journey from German spy to MI5. Working for the British, whom he saw as the exemplars of freedom and democracy, he created a bizarre fictional network of spies – 29 of them – that misled the entire German high command, including Hitler himself. Above all, in Operation Fortitude he diverted German Panzer divisions away from Normandy, playing a crucial role in safeguarding D-Day and ending the war, and securing his reputation as the most successful double agent of the war.
Meticulously researched, yet told with the verve of a thriller, The Spy with 29 Names uncovers the truth – far stranger than any fiction – about the spy behind one of recent history’s most important and dramatic events.
Recommend this book
Add your recommendation
Only registered users can recommend books. Please use the buttons below to either create a new account, or sign-in to an existing account.
Gripping and stylish... reads like a thrilling work of fiction - Spectator
Webster resurrects a quirky figure of fantastical duplicity, a juggler of multiple fictional identities... brilliantly fleshes out his character as the enigmatic Agent Garbo - The Times
A riveting story - Independent
Webster is an ideal teller of this story... has all the hallmarks of a classic espionage movie - Observer
From new material about Pujol's early life and family secrets, Webster constructs an intriguing double-edged character and creates a dramatic story of ingenious heroism - Saga Magazine
Compelling - Country Life
Breezily written and readable - Literary Review
A brilliant biography... Reads like a gripping thriller - Bookseller
A wonderfully intriguing and evocative tale, stuffed with extraordinary and exotic characters and a real addition to the wartime espionage canon - Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of BOMBER BOYS and FIGHTER BOYS
A fabulous story, elegantly told - Roger Moorhouse, author of BERLIN AT WAR
Jason Webster, Hispanophile and former Spanish resident, has brought both his crime writing skills and his Iberian expertise to telling the astonishing story of Juan Pujol, aka Agent Garbo, World War Two's most intriguing and important spy -- a tale that would be dismissed as incredible if found in a novel. It's gripping, authentic, surreal -- and true. If you liked Ben Macintyre's 'Operation Mincemeat' you're going to love this one -- it's an absolute winner - Nigel Jones, author of COUNTDOWN TO VALKYRIE: the attempts to assassinate Hitler
A great read and work of detection which illuminates a fascinating episode - William Chislett, former correspondent of THE TIMES in Spain
Better than fiction and certainly a lot murkier, Jason Webster uncovers the tale of one of the Second World War's most fascinating spies, creating an absorbing and page-turning depiction of multi-coated deception - Barmaby Rogerson, author of THE LAST CRUSADERS and THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD
A compelling, evocative study of the Second World War's most successful double agent - Good Book Guide
Brought up in England, Jason Webster has lived for many years in Spain. His acclaimed non-fiction books about Spain include Duende: A Journey in Search of Flamenco; Andalus: Unlocking the Secrets of Moorish Spain; Guerra: Living in the Shadows of the Spanish Civil War; Sacred Sierra: A Year on a Spanish Mountain and The Spy with 29 Names. His Max Cámara series of crime novels started with Or the Bull Kills You, which was was longlisted for the CWA Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards New Blood Dagger 2011. This was followed by A Death in Valencia,The Anarchist Detective and, most recently, Blood Med.