Saturday, November 29, 2008
Book Review: Agent Zigzag
History bristles with heroes, cads and villains. Eddie Chapman was all three. A British conman who found himself a convict in the opening days of World Wart II, he volunteered to work for the Germans - if they'd spring him from the klink. They did and soon Eddie was whisked away to Paris - where shadowy spymasters trained him in the dark arts of espionage. The young grifter took to it, and quickly prepared for a top-secret return to London. But when a bungled parachute jump left the young spy muddy, bloodied and stunned in an English celery-patch, he stumbled to the closest constable and turned himself in. A double agent was born. In Agent Zigzag, Ben Macintyre unfurls the unlikely life story of Eddie Chapman - dashing adventurist, irascible liar, sworn horndog. Global infidelity was his specialty: staring down Nazi interrogators, sneaking around on his keepers, wooing trumpets in every port. Known as Fritz in the Fatherland and ZigZag in the UK, Chapman worked the war for fun and profit, pledging allegiance to who ever was paying the bill at the time. But in elegantly lecherous fashion, this bon vivant proves himself a statesman of sorts, a top operative of the Allies, a weasely hero, an International Man of Mystery. No wonder Tom Hanks just bought the rights. And as for who to cast as Zigzag? Ehhhh ... Matthew McConaughey - if he can master three languages and keep his shirt on. Good luck with that.