Double Agent

Double Agent: The First Hero of World War II and How the FBI Outwitted and Destroyed a Nazi Spy Ring - Peter Duffy

"No suspect gets his reputation ruined by having his name splashed in the headlines unless Hoover has the goods on him. There are no raids on the private or political files. Hoover is tough, but respects the rules—especially fundamental liberties." Pearson concluded, "The nation is lucky to have him on the job."

This book covers the little known story of how one German born American, William Sebold, partnered with the FBI to take down German spy rings in New York City. Sebold when he went back to Germany to recuperate from an illness found himself being recruited by the Germans to spy on America. Sebold, who had become an American citizen, took his oath of allegiance to America seriously and got in contact with American authorities and found himself becoming a double agent.


It took me a little while to really get into this book (about around 35% of the way through is when I really started to get into it). I think that is because this book not only covers Sebold and his takedown of German spies but also does cover some history of WWII. I probably would have been more interested in the unrelated to the Sebold case history of WWII if I hadn't already known most of it. I was really interested in learning about all of the people relevant to the operation and their histories before and after the events that took place. The book does tend to mention the Norden bombsight a lot, and while it was important to the Sebold operation the parts mentioning it (especially after the trials of the German spies took place) could be a bit long and hard to keep interested in.


It is really a shame that what Sebold did for America is not well known and it is also a shame where Sebold ended up before he died. For a man that was an integral part in the first big counterespionage operation of the FBI you would think that more could have been done to help him. He seemed to be in such a fragile mental state towards the end of his life which is quite understandable with all that he had been through.


I would definitely recommend this book if you are interested in learning about a little known man who contributed a lot to the takedown of German spy rings right before WWII. I am also interested in learning more about WWII and I am glad that I got the chance to read about William Sebold. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the galley.