100 books like Double Cross

By Ben Macintyre,

Here are 100 books that Double Cross fans have personally recommended if you like Double Cross. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville

Sarah Percy Author Of Forgotten Warriors: The Long History of Women in Combat

From my list on women in combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an academic, writer, and broadcaster, and I’ve always been fascinated by the big questions of who fights wars and why. A puzzle caught my eye: the only profession (short of maybe priest) where women were actively banned in the 1980s and as late as the 2010s, was combat. How could Western democracies ban women from an entire profession? This was especially odd, given that the plentiful historical evidence that women were perfectly capable of combat. So I wrote a book explaining how women in combat fit into the broader sweep of military history, and how the suppression and dismissal of their stories has had a profound social and cultural impact. 

Sarah's book list on women in combat

Sarah Percy Why did Sarah love this book?

The stories of women spies during World War II are not as well known as they should be – especially  because these women were highly trained, incredibly brave, and trained in all kinds of combat techniques.

I find them fascinating because they demonstrate that ordinary women are capable of the greatest feats of physical bravery – these women were not recruited because they were muscle-bound or could shoot a bullseye from a great distance.

They were usually just regular women who happened to speak a European language fluently. Krystyna Skarbek, brilliantly written about in this exciting biography by Clare Mulley, was one such woman – her adventures, including crucial organization of French resistance fighters and rescuing her colleagues from the Nazis – make for irresistible reading.

By Clare Mulley,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Spy Who Loved as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessed colleague in a hotel in South Kensington. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising, but that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable. The daughter of a feckless Polish aristocrat and his wealthy Jewish wife, she would become one of Britain's most daring and highly decorated special agents. Having fled to Britain on the outbreak of war, she was recruited by the intelligence services long before the establishment of the SOE, and took on mission after mission. She skied into occupied Poland, served…


Book cover of Our Man in New York: The British Plot to Bring America into the Second World War

Robert Hutton Author Of Agent Jack: The True Story of Mi5's Secret Nazi Hunter

From my list on secret wartime histories around WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert Hutton is the author of Agent Jack, the previously untold tale of the surprisingly large number of British people who tried to help Hitler win World War 2. He spent a decade and a half following British prime ministers around the world for Bloomberg and now writes parliamentary sketches for The Critic while researching intelligence history.

Robert's book list on secret wartime histories around WW2

Robert Hutton Why did Robert love this book?

I have a vivid memory of opening the file on Britain’s efforts to bring America into the war, declassified only recently, and being astonished at the things that had gone on. Hemming’s book tells this amazing story and raises the ethical question of whether Britain’s end – defeating Hitler – was justified by its means – spreading fake news in the US and even interfering in its politics.

By Henry Hemming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Man in New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A revelatory and wholly fascinating work of history. Superbly researched and written with gripping fluency, this lost secret of World War II espionage finally has its expert chronicler."
- WILLIAM BOYD

'Gripping and intoxicating, it unfolds like the best screenplay.'
NICHOLAS SHAKESPEARE

The gripping story of a propaganda campaign like no other: the covert British operation to manipulate American public opinion and bring the US into the Second World War.

When William Stephenson - "our man in New York" - arrived in the United States towards the end of June 1940 with instructions from the head of MI6 to 'organise'…


Book cover of Inge's War: A German Woman's Story of Family, Secrets, and Survival Under Hitler

Robert Hutton Author Of Agent Jack: The True Story of Mi5's Secret Nazi Hunter

From my list on secret wartime histories around WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert Hutton is the author of Agent Jack, the previously untold tale of the surprisingly large number of British people who tried to help Hitler win World War 2. He spent a decade and a half following British prime ministers around the world for Bloomberg and now writes parliamentary sketches for The Critic while researching intelligence history.

Robert's book list on secret wartime histories around WW2

Robert Hutton Why did Robert love this book?

We hear a lot about the wars of soldiers and spies, but much less about the lives of ordinary people. In this book, O’Donnell pieces together the story of her grandmother’s life as a young woman in Germany before and during the war. Unlike the tales of daring action, this is a story that is unexceptional, but all the more powerful for it. A reminder that for many people in Europe, the war was something that happened to them, rather than something they did.

By Svenja O'Donnell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inge's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An extraordinary saga." -David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon

The mesmerizing account of a granddaughter's search for a World War II family history hidden for sixty years

Growing up in Paris as the daughter of a German mother and an Irish father, Svenja O'Donnell knew little of her family's German past. All she knew was that her great-grandparents, grandmother, and mother had fled their home city of Koenigsberg near the end of World War II, never to return. But everything changed when O'Donnell traveled to the city-now known as Kaliningrad, and a part…


Book cover of The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler

David C. Dawson Author Of A Death in Berlin

From my list on historical gay heroes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve read a lot of books that feature gay characters. These characters often partition into two main groups: angsty men who are victims of oppression or illness, or camp stereotypes who provide the light relief. I prefer to read about heroes who happen to be gay. That’s why I started writing novels. My recent books are historical novels inspired by real gay heroes. The feedback I get from readers indicates that there are a lot of people who want the same as I do.

David's book list on historical gay heroes

David C. Dawson Why did David love this book?

The untold true story of how a group of gay MPs lobbied the British government to stop its policy of appeasing Hitler in the run up to WWII. It’s a book about patriotic heroes who are criminals in their own land because of their sexuality. It moved me deeply and inspired my own fictional thriller set in Berlin in 1933.

By Chris Bryant,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Glamour Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A STORY OF UNSUNG BRAVERY AT A DEFINING MOMENT IN BRITAIN'S HISTORY

'Superb' Stephen Fry
'Thrillingly told' Dan Jones
'Fascinating' Neil MacGregor
'Astonishing' Peter Frankopan

We like to think we know the story of how Britain went to war with Germany in 1939, but there is one chapter that has never been told. In the early 1930s, a group of young, queer British MPs visited Berlin on a series of trips that would change the course of the Second World War.

Having witnessed the Nazis' brutality first-hand, these men were some of the first to warn Britain about Hitler, repeatedly…


Book cover of Slow Horses

Bruce Borgos Author Of The Bitter Past

From my list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved peculiar heroes and heroines. Characters with strange gifts and an equal number of challenges. It started with Sherlock Holmes, whose mind fascinated me. As a child, I gravitated to the unnatural protagonist, Tarzan, in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was never a big fan of Superman, I preferred people who adapted quickly to new surroundings and could think on their feet. Once I began my writing career, I kept those protagonists in my mind. Four novels in, I do my best to capture their spirit and determination to overcome whatever lands in front of them.

Bruce's book list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities

Bruce Borgos Why did Bruce love this book?

I loved this book because it’s about misfits. In this case, misfits who are spies. Spies who have screwed up and disgraced themselves and their masters at the British Secret Service. They’re led by the disheveled and malodorous Jackson Lamb, who is so smart he disdains everyone around him.

He and the Slow Horses get all the bad assignments, but I loved how each of them possessed special skills and a desire to redeem themselves. I think Mick Herron is the master of humorous spy fiction!  

By Mick Herron,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Slow Horses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Now a major TV series starring Gary Oldman*

'To have been lucky enough to play Smiley in one's career; and now go and play Jackson Lamb in Mick Herron's novels - the heir, in a way, to le Carre - is a terrific thing' Gary Oldman

Slough House is the outpost where disgraced spies are banished to see out the rest of their derailed careers. Known as the 'slow horses' these misfits have committed crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal while on duty.

In this drab and mildewed office these highly trained spies don't run…


Book cover of Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris

Stew Ross Author Of Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters?-The False War & Vichy: Volume One A Walking Tour of Nazi-Occupied Paris, 1940−1944

From my list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944.

Why am I passionate about this?

I received my B.S. in geology and spent my career in commercial banking. How did I go from banking to becoming an author? I learned to write as a banker back in the “good old” days when the loan officer had to write their own credit memorandum. I enjoyed it so much I told myself, “One day, I'm going to write a book.” Then I found a book called Walks Through Lost Paris by Leonard Pitt. As my wife and I walked through the streets of Paris, I said, “I can write a book like this.” And so I did. We're about to publish our sixth book in an anticipated series of nine.

Stew's book list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944

Stew Ross Why did Stew love this book?

Dr. Sumner Jackson and his family lived at 11, avenue Foch, sandwiched between Gestapo interrogation offices. It is an extraordinary story of resistance by the head of the American Hospital and his family. They are caught, interrogated, and ultimately deported to various concentration camps.

The author does an excellent job of outlining the Gestapo hierarchy in Paris and describing the Nazis’ brutal methods. The family was classified as prisoners under the “Nacht und Nebel” program (“Night and Fog”) and Mr. Kershaw introduces you to Hitler’s infamous directive. The book also weaves various resistance icons into the story. These include the SOE agents, Violette Szabó, Noor Inayat Khan, and Francis Suttill.

By Alex Kershaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Avenue of Spies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The best-selling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II.

The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris's hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was…


Book cover of Colonel Henri's Story: The Memoirs of the German Secret Agent who arrested Odette and Peter Churchill

Stew Ross Author Of Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters?-The False War & Vichy: Volume One A Walking Tour of Nazi-Occupied Paris, 1940−1944

From my list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944.

Why am I passionate about this?

I received my B.S. in geology and spent my career in commercial banking. How did I go from banking to becoming an author? I learned to write as a banker back in the “good old” days when the loan officer had to write their own credit memorandum. I enjoyed it so much I told myself, “One day, I'm going to write a book.” Then I found a book called Walks Through Lost Paris by Leonard Pitt. As my wife and I walked through the streets of Paris, I said, “I can write a book like this.” And so I did. We're about to publish our sixth book in an anticipated series of nine.

Stew's book list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944

Stew Ross Why did Stew love this book?

I recommend this book to any “hard core” student of the German occupation of Paris. It is written by the Abwehr’s spy master assigned to track down and arrest foreign agents and French résistants operating in Paris. It was said that Bleicher could identify a foreign agent or résistant from a long distance. Bleicher was responsible for shutting down the Interallié network and SOE’s most productive circuit, Prosper.

While an interesting read, the reader must be cautioned. This is a memoir based on ten-year-old memories. Second, there is no independent research and much of this information remained classified until the 1990s. It might be best to have a good knowledge of the history of the occupation in Paris before reading Bleicher’s book.

By Hugo Bleicher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Colonel Henri's Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Double Agent Victoire: Mathilde Carré and the Interallié Network

Stew Ross Author Of Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters?-The False War & Vichy: Volume One A Walking Tour of Nazi-Occupied Paris, 1940−1944

From my list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944.

Why am I passionate about this?

I received my B.S. in geology and spent my career in commercial banking. How did I go from banking to becoming an author? I learned to write as a banker back in the “good old” days when the loan officer had to write their own credit memorandum. I enjoyed it so much I told myself, “One day, I'm going to write a book.” Then I found a book called Walks Through Lost Paris by Leonard Pitt. As my wife and I walked through the streets of Paris, I said, “I can write a book like this.” And so I did. We're about to publish our sixth book in an anticipated series of nine.

Stew's book list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944

Stew Ross Why did Stew love this book?

I recommend this book because it introduces the reader to one of the first organized resistance networks in Paris. As a double agent, Mathilde Carré (nom de guerre: Victoire) was also known as “The Cat.” She was ultimately responsible for the arrest of hundreds of Interallié agents (including her boss, Roman Czerniawski).

This book has it all. The author weaves the stories of collaborationists (e.g., Bonny-Lafont), SOE double agents (e.g., Henri Déricourt), and Abwehr spy catchers (e.g., Hugo Bleicher) around intricate counter-intelligence plots involving British and German spy agencies. You will meet Czerniawski again as he became a double agent after his arrest by the Germans and worked for the Allies in Operation Double Cross. It’s a great foundation to begin your study of the resistance movement in Paris.

By David Tremain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Double Agent Victoire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mathilde Carre, notoriously known as La Chatte, was remarkable for all the wrong reasons. Like most spies she was temperamental, scheming and manipulative - but she was also treacherous. A dangerous mix, especially when combined with her infamous history of love affairs - on both sides. Her acts of treachery were almost unprecedented in the history of intelligence, yet her involvement in the 'Interallie affair' has only warranted a brief mention in the accounts of special operations in France during the Second World War. But what motivated her to betray more than 100 members of the Interallie network, the largest…


Book cover of The Gestapo: A History of Horror

Stew Ross Author Of Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters?-The False War & Vichy: Volume One A Walking Tour of Nazi-Occupied Paris, 1940−1944

From my list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944.

Why am I passionate about this?

I received my B.S. in geology and spent my career in commercial banking. How did I go from banking to becoming an author? I learned to write as a banker back in the “good old” days when the loan officer had to write their own credit memorandum. I enjoyed it so much I told myself, “One day, I'm going to write a book.” Then I found a book called Walks Through Lost Paris by Leonard Pitt. As my wife and I walked through the streets of Paris, I said, “I can write a book like this.” And so I did. We're about to publish our sixth book in an anticipated series of nine.

Stew's book list on the German occupation of France, 1940−1944

Stew Ross Why did Stew love this book?

Studying the history of the German occupation of France must include a knowledge of Gestapo history and its crimes against humanity. This book is an introductory overview of the German security forces (RSHA) and in particular, Amt IV, or the Gestapo. The book focuses on the Gestapo forces in Paris and how they interacted with other security units including the Sicherheitdienst (SD), or Nazi political intelligence agency (Amt VI).

The author was imprisoned by the Nazis in 1944 after he was caught as a saboteur in the Combat resistance movement. During his post-war career, Delarue was called as a prosecution witness at Klaus Barbie’s trial, and he was assigned to investigate the French war criminal, Paul Touvier. I recommend this book to anyone who needs an overview of the Gestapo from Berlin to Paris.

By Jacques Delarue,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gestapo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From 1933 to 1945, the Gestapo was Nazi Germany's chief instrument of counter-espionage, political suppression, and terror. Jacques Delarue, a saboteur arrested by the Nazis in occupied France, chronicles how the land of Beethoven elevated sadism to a fine art. The Gestapo: A History of Horror draws upon Delarue's interviews with ex-Gestapo agents to deliver a multi-layered history of the force whose work included killing student resisters, establishing Aryan eugenic unions, and implementing the Final Solution. This is a probing look at the Gestapo and the fanatics and megalomaniacs who made it such a successful and heinous organization-Barbie, Eichmann, Himmler,…


Book cover of Moscow X

Larry Enmon Author Of Class III Threat

From my list on spies from a retired secret service agent.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I always wanted to be a Secret Service agent. As an adult, I became one. The job introduced me to the classified and shadowy world of national security. I traveled the globe, working in places I'd only read about in novels and meeting people who seemed like well-written characters from a book. When I was assigned as a liaison agent to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, I attended numerous FBI and CIA schools—even the facility known as The Farm. But through it all, I read! When I retired and had time to think about what I did, I figured I'd try writing.

Larry's book list on spies from a retired secret service agent

Larry Enmon Why did Larry love this book?

This book struck a familiar note with me—follow the money.

Working financial crimes during my federal agent days always came down to figuring out where the money came from, how many hands it passed through, and where it ended up. McCloskey does an excellent job showing this through his CIA officer's deception to uncover Putin's moneymen.

Working in a non-official cover (NOC) capacity in a hostile country has its hazards, as the author vividly describes.

By David McCloskey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moscow X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

CIA operatives Sia and Max enter Russia to recruit Vladimir Putin's moneyman. Sia works for a London firm that conceals the wealth of the super-rich. Max's family business in Mexico-a CIA front since the 1960s-is a farm that breeds high-end racehorses. They pose as a couple, and their targets are Vadim, Putin's private banker, and his wife, Anna, who is both a banker and an intelligence officer. As they descend further into a Russian world dripping with luxury and rife with gangland violence, Sia and Max's hope may be Anna, who is playing a game of her own. Careening between…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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