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Errol Flynn: The Spy Who Never Was Hardcover – 1 Jan 1996

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 22 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel Press; 1st Edition edition (1 Jan 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080651180X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806511801
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,068,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Examines the enigmatic life and career of the box-office idol, touching on his love affairs with men and women, manslaughter charges, smuggling, kleptomania, and work for the Nazis.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jeremiah harbottle on 16 Dec 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this isn't a biography of errol flynn, so much as an investigation into the rumours and allegiations that flynn was a nazi spy. i always considered it to be nonsense and unthinkable that he would be that way inclined and this book provides a heavyweight argument in attempting to prove that flynn was not in league with the nazis. also, this book attempts to discover what made errol flynn tick as a person and to unveil something of the man behind his famous on-screen persona. the author tony thomas, had the advantage of meeting and speaking with flynn's ghost writer of his memiors earl conrad and also of seeing the actor himself, not long before he died. as a result, thomas's interest vastly grew and this book is the result.
the photos have been well-selected as they highlight many areas of the man's life and career throughout the decades.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. D. M. Kirby on 16 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book was written to debunk the preposterous tosh, contained in Charles Higham’s deeply unpleasant book, ‘Errol Flynn: The Untold Story’ in which Higham claimed that - inter alia - Flynn was bisexual, a wartime Nazi agent and a traitor.

Well, I think Tony Thomas, the author has done a pretty good job. He gives us a potted biography of Flynn - 25 pages - and then delves deep into the man himself, warts and all. Mr. Thomas gives a very interesting insight as to Flynn’s talents as a journalist, writer and author which were pretty impressive. Flynn’s friendship with Hermann Erben is scrutinised and it appears that Higham’s attempts to ensure that adding two and two together really does make four, clumsily backfires on him. It’s a well-written book, although the author would have been wise if he’d excluded the epilogue by Flynn’s friend, Patric Knowles, which does not add lustre to the book at all.

Flynn’s faults were many and varied - no doubt about that - but a Nazi spy? Consign that theory to the scrapheap and let’s remember Flynn as being a very intelligent man, whose acting talents were certainly not used to the full but who will always be remembered as a great screen presence.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Thomas attacks assertion that Flynn was a Nazi spy 25 Mar 1998
By Charles Culbertson (cculbert@cfw.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Like a lot of other people, Tony Thomas grew up in the 1940s fixated on the dashing, magnetic screen idol Errol Flynn. In the 1950s -- when Thomas was a writer and Flynn a washed up, dissipated shadow of his former self -- Thomas got to know Flynn and conducted several interviews with him. One of those still exists in audio form, but it very hard to find. In the 1960s, Thomas co-authored the landmark work "The Complete Films of Errol Flynn," and went on to serve as a consultant on the actor's life for a number of documentaries. His last book, "Errol Flynn: The Spy Who Never Was," is one of the most fascinating looks at Errol Flynn ever committed to print -- it contains much never-published information on the actor -- and dismantles in detail Charles Higham's poorly-researched assertion that Flynn was a Nazi spy. Tony Thomas died last July after suffering a stroke; while those of us who had contact with him will miss him, we can be thankful of this last work, in which the great swashbuckler is finally defended. If you can find it, "Errol Flynn: The Spy Who Never Was," is a must-read.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Man of the sea. 25 May 2006
By Brad F. Stender - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have been a Flynn star for years and have read most of the books except the lousy rush to print books. I read Higham and his forte is to denigrate falsely major stars once they are dead. He is a self loathing old gay queen who lashes out his venom. Errol Flynn was not a Nazi. He was too much a hedonist to be a nazi. He thought in fun not politics. I once met Cary Grant and as he said numerous times re: Flynn - he was not a nazi traitor at all- he just enjoyed life. He also said Errol never had to rape any woman- they raped him!!!

This book is very good, detailed and correct. If his biographer Mr. Conrad was alive he would write the same thing. I talked with Mt. Conrad and he was adamant that Flynn was not a nazi spy.This started because actor George Brent was mad at Flynn for bedding down Ann Sheridan. He also was envious of Flynn for his career and his larger ship the Zaca.He was pissed that Flynn pulled strings to allow himself to use the ship and for it not to be confiscated for the war effort.

Its time that writers like Higham and his low ilk were drum out of the writing profession and publishers stop printing lies and crap.

Note- Flynn and Howard Hughes were not lovers - Hughes number one man said so.

Great book on Flynn by Mr. Thomas. Read a must.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Tony Thomas defends Flynn against Higham 31 Mar 2013
By Bert vanC Bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Excellent defence against claims by gossip-hack Charles Higham that Flynn was a closet Nazi. TVO fans may know Tony Thomas from being interviewed by Elwy Yost about actors and movies; or some of you may hark back enough to recall this Brit-Canadian in his CBC reporting days. Either way, he's best known now for books about Hollywood's golden era - many of which are probably falling apart on your library's shelves beside slicker volumes about today's over-marketed presumed 'stars.'

Higham also made up a slew of scandal about Cary Grant (homosexuality), Olivia de Havilland and her sister (mutual loathing), etc. When crossing the line from outrageous exaggeration (de Havilland, Joan Fontaine) to outright fabrications (Flynn and Grant), Higham always astutely released his muckraking best-sellers after his subjects' death. Thomas illustrates how, so as to ensure good sales for his incendiary trash, Higham was not beyond falsifying documents and twisting beyond recognition spoken and even written testimony by some Flynn pals. Alas, a few were still around, helping Thomas to rectify the record about what was really said.

We get a few very telling examples here, including one completely reconstructed quotation that horrified de Havilland, distorting something she'd once remarked on seeing Errol late in life. In a second instance, Thomas holds up some original, recently-declassified US government documents about Flynn that show the twisted account by Higham of what they presumably said. Such interesting detective work by Thomas sheds refreshing light on this very commercially-minded writer's lack of scruples, and will nudge some never to be credulous about what they see in print.

Higham was apparently conflicted in several ways that may explain some of his writings. Ever the smooth gentleman, Thomas doesn't go into this at any length, but I merely bring it in for context, based on various Web sources. He was apparently molested in youth by his stepmother, and the woman he married later became overtly lesbian. At the time of his death, he himself was in a gay relationship. Small wonder, given the times when he lived, that he found skeletons lurking in so many famous closets.

A quick, enjoyable read. Thomas is always a delight to read, here no less than elsewhere. For as long as the studio era of Hollywood matters, his books should remain in print.

Recommended as much for the sharp detective work, and for putting Higham in perspective, as for Thomas's vindication of Flynn. He may have ended up a sad wastrel, but he never was a traitor.
Mystery man book arrives to rave reviews 17 April 2013
By thia912002 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i waited forever in my heart to get this book,and now that i have it,I love reading it.Story is good and I'm only in the beginning of the book.
Bought this for a gift for a friend. 28 Mar 2013
By Terri Brinkley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my friend who was a great Errol Flynn fan. She learned much more about him. She couldn't put it down.
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