Cracking the Nazi Code

The Untold Story of Canada's Greatest Spy

by Jason Bell

On Sale: 09/26/2023

Cracking the Nazi Code

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Cracking the Nazi Code

The Untold Story of Canada's Greatest Spy

by Jason Bell

On Sale: 09/26/2023


About the Book

The thrilling true story of Agent A12, the earliest enemy of the Nazis, and the first spy to crack Hitler’s deadliest secret code: the framework of the Final Solution

In public life, Dr. Winthrop Bell of Halifax was a Harvard philosophy professor and wealthy businessman. As MI6 secret agent A12, he evaded gunfire and shook off pursuers to break open the emerging Nazi conspiracy in 1919 Berlin. His reports, the first warning of the Nazi plot for WWII, went directly to the man known as C, the mysterious founder of MI6, and to prime ministers. But a powerful fascist politician quietly worked to suppress his alerts. Nevertheless, his intelligence sabotaged the Nazis in ways only now revealed. Bell became a spy once again in the face of WWII. In 1939, he was the first to crack Hitler’s deadliest secret code: the Holocaust. At that time, the führer was a popular politician who said he wanted peace. Could anyone believe Bell’s shocking warning? Fighting an epic intelligence war from Ukraine, Russia and Poland to France, Germany, Canada and Washington, DC, A12 was the real-life 007, waging a single-handed fight against madmen bent on destroying the world. Without Bell’s astounding courage, the Nazis might just have won the war. 

Informed by recently declassified documents, Cracking the Nazi Code is the first book to illuminate the astounding exploits of Winthrop Bell, Agent A12.

Critical Praise

I love books that promise "untold stories". This one does and it delivers. Who knew that a Canadian was the first to warn the world what the Nazis were up to, and to do it years before anyone else was even talking about Nazis? Winthrop Bell is a name you should know, and thanks to Jason Bell and his deep dive research you now will. — Peter Mansbridge

Brilliantly researched, Cracking the Nazi Code upends our conventional, often inaccurate, understanding of the Nazis’ rise to power after WWI. It took the stunning intelligence work of Winthrop Bell, a Canadian spy working for MI6 in Germany, to decipher what was really going on. How did Hitler, an insignificant minion, manage to climb the ladder of power? How wide-ranging was his genocidal intent? As Bell pursues the truth, the twists and turns of his life are fascinating. We come away with a deep respect for intelligence work at its finest. A page-turner, one of those books not to be missed. — Rosemary Sullivan, Stalin’s Daughter

Written with uncommon verve, wonderful detail, and deep insight gained from previously inaccessible archival records, Cracking the Nazi Code reveals the key spy work of Winthrop Bell. His secret fieldwork revealed insurrection, revolution, and the rise of the vile ideology that would underpin the Nazi party. Bell’s dangerous missions saved countless lives, supported battered democratic regimes, and provided British spymasters and Canadian political leaders with crucial information to avert disaster. Cracking the Nazi Code reminds us of the fragility of nations after war and how easily they can slide into chaos as demagogues prey upon the vulnerable, helpless, and hopeless. — Tim Cook, Vimy: The Battle and the Legend

If you think you know everything about World War II, you need this book. Jason Bell’s account of how a philosophy professor alerted world leaders to the true threat of the rising Nazi movement is a first-rate spy story. Cracking the Nazi Code takes you along on one man’s dangerous quest to discover the truth and convince world leaders of perils to come. — Gregory A. Freeman, The Forgotten 500

Move over William Stephenson. It turns out "the Man Called Intrepid” wasn't Canada's only WWII master spy. In this fascinating first-ever biography of Winthrop Bell, historian Jason Bell introduces readers to the shadowy one-time Harvard-philosophy-professor-turned-secret-agent who became one of Nazi Germany’s biggest enemies. — Ken Cuthbertson, Blood on the Coal: The True Story of the Great Springhill Mine Disaster

An amazing book. . . . Winthrop Bell was a harbinger of fate, a prophet in his times. . . Spy stories’ addicts, history buffs, researchers and readers blessed with even a quantum of curiosity – should read this extraordinary ouvrage and reflect on its meaning for our past, but also for our future. — Michael Bar-Zohar, Mossad

"This book is a significant and timely achievement, and the author should be commended for bringing to colorful life the story of the courageous, intelligent, and infinitely interesting Winthrop Bell, a man whose name should always be registered in the first rank of heroic freedom-fighters and who, as the author points how, cracked not only the Nazi code but the peace code as well. A masterful profile of a significant historical figure." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443466745
  • ISBN 10: 1443466743
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 09/26/2023
  • Pages: 352
  • List Price:36.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / Military / World War II
  • BISAC2 : POLITICAL SCIENCE / Intelligence & Espionage
  • BISAC3 : HISTORY / Holocaust

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