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THE DOUBLE-CROSS SYSTEM is an authentic document from within the espionage empire of the Second World War, written as a secret report for the Intelligence Commission and released for publication only in 1972. Quite simply, it tells how Britain used the enemy against themselves.

J.C. Masterman was chairman of the Double-Cross Committee at the height of World War Two. This is his account of the double agents, deception and counter-espionage which were key to the victory of D-Day.

Written as an official report for MI5 in 1945, originally published with the permission of the British Government over twenty years later, The Double-Cross System details the Allied handling of enemy agents and the British infiltration of Nazi spy-rings.

Telling the stories of the agents codenamed Zigzag, Tricycle, Garbo and Snow, Masterman also tells the story of a triumphant operation in the Second World War’s intelligence effort.


There is no better book than The Double-Cross System on wartime intelligence

Times Literary Supplement

Far and away the most valuable document of its kind...lucid cogent and authentic

Sunday Times

Sensationalists are fond of trumpeting every slightest secret revealed as a world-shaking story; this one really was

M.R.D. Foot

A game played with dynamite in which those who couldn't play were executed...Should on no account be missed by anyone who enjoys a good thriller

Oxford Mail

A fascinating insight into the dangerous underworld of espionage and intelligence gathering during World War Two

L Waller, The History Blog

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Formats & editions

  • EBook


    March 3, 2016

    Vintage Digital

    256 pages

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  • Paperback


    June 15, 2013


    256 pages

    RRP $22.99

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Also by John Masterman