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Product details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (20 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1481020080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481020084
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Official website: www.helen-fry.com

Historian Helen Fry has written extensively on WWII with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans & Austrians who fought for Britain in the war. The most popular is her "Churchill's German Army", now available on Amazon as an e-book and the subject of a documentary by National Geographic Channel. Her WWII books continue to receive unprecedented ongoing media coverage in the national and international Press. Her most recent publication "The M Room: Secret Listeners who Bugged the Nazis" was a feature article on the BBC website, and Helen was interviewed with 2 surviving secret listeners on the BBC's One Show. The subject is a documentary for Channel 4 entitled "Spying on Hitler's Army".

Helen's book "Music & Men: the Life and Loves of Harriet Cohen" has been optioned for film with first draft Screenplay completed. It encapsulates the life of a stunningly beautiful and vivacious pianist whose impact and legacy on the music world was far-reaching in her day. It charts Harriet Cohen's colourful private life with a network of famous friends and lovers: literary, political and music figures, including Elgar, George Bernard Shaw, Vaughan Williams, Einstein, and HG Wells. Helen has been interviewed about it on Radio 4's Women's Hour (18 Sept 2008), and Radio 3 (28 Feb 2009).

Her WWII book "Inside Nuremberg Prison" tells the moving personal story of a veteran who is the last surviving witness to the Nazi interviews in Nuremberg at the end of WW2. This is the story of a man who, despite his own personal suffering at the hands of the Nazis, showed great dignity whilst in daily contact with the top Nazi leaders who were behind bars in the prison during the Nuremberg Trial.

Helen's book "From Dachau to D-Day" (2009) was given full-page feature articles in The Independent, and The Weekly News. Helen's highly acclaimed paper back book "Churchill's German Army" has received national and international coverage in the major newspapers. It was the subject of an 8-page special article with photographs in Military Illustrated (Dec 2008). The book was a sequel to "Jews in North Devon during the Second World War" (2005) which was awarded Devon Book of the Year and the subject of a documentary for BBC South-west.

Early in 2009 "Freuds' War" came out - a biography of the Freud line from Sigmund through his son Martin to grandson Walter. It drew on a substantial amount of previously unseen family archives, and provides a very human, fatherly portrayal of the founder of psychoanalysis and his family. Helen's book "German Schoolboy, British Commando" was published in early 2010, and was followed by "Denazification: Britain's Enemy Aliens, Nazi war Criminals & the Reconstruction of post-war Europe".

Helen Fry has branched out into historical fiction with James Hamilton under the pseudonym JH Schryer. Their debut novel Goodnight Vienna was published summer 2009, a love triangle of lust, love and betrayal set in Nazi-occupied Vienna in 1938. The sequel "Moonlight Over Denmark" came out in Spring 2010.
As JH Schryer, Helen and James have been sculptured by artist Jane McAdam Freud, daughter of Lucian Freud, in a piece inspired by the writing 'duo' called "Stone Speak". The first public showing was at the Freud Museum, London from 15 April-16 July 2010; then Los Angeles in autumn 2010, New York in January 2011 and Cracow, Poland in autumn 2011.

Helen is also the editor of some veteran WW2 autobiographies. She has worked with Herman Rothman on his autobiography "Hitler's Will", about the discovery of Hitler's last will and testament, sewn into the lining of the jacket of a POW who was arrested and brought into Fallingbostel camp at the end of the war.

Helen Fry received her Ph.D from the University of Exeter in 1996 and is an honorary research fellow in the Dept of Hebrew & Jewish Studies at University College London. She is a member of prestigious The Biographers' Club and The Society of Authors.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Suej on 6 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book good gives a great insight into a hidden aspect of the war. Fascinating to hear some of the transcripts recorded and to discover many new facts about the war and about some of the opinions of those involved.
My only criticism is that by about half way through you become aware of a lot of repetition and also a tendency to mention something of interest but then not elaborate, leaving the narrative skirting on the surface. Nevertheless a hugely interesting read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Seaweed on 29 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
(author's review copy)

Ms Fry is already the author of a number of books; her focus is on the history of Jews in Britain and on the Second World War. Here the two themes come together in the shape of Jewish refugees who served as `secret listeners' in MI 19's camps where German PoWs were left to chat to each other in bugged quarters, thus inadvertently amplifying whatever information they had given under formal interrogation. Through this runs the career of cellist Fritz Lustig, who with other `enemy aliens' was interned on the Isle of Man, allowed to enlist in the Pioneer Corps, and in 1943 was transferred to secret listening.

The sources for the book are chiefly the transcripts of this bugging released to the National Archives in 1999 under WO 208 (already mined by Sönke Nietzel in 'Soldaten') and AIR 40, which codes also cover summary reporting and other matters. There are tens of thousands of pages of paper in these records and Ms Fry is to be congratulated on creating a coherent and digestible narrative from them for the lay public.

The story of the bugging of PoWs starts in 1939 in the Tower of London where the `M Room' housed the initial listening operation. The supply of useful PoWs meant that larger quarters had soon to be sought, and the Hertfordshire mansion Trent Park was taken over and equipped with secret microphones and recording equipment in 1940, Latimer House and Wilton Park being added to the programme soon afterwards. When thoroughly milked the PoWs were moved on to make room for others. The programme continued beyond the end of the war for interrogation of senor German personnel. Farm Hall in East Anglia was used in 1945 for a similar process with captured German nuclear scientists.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tony B on 12 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many distingushed authours about the Second World War have refered to matters with words such 'Information from POWs' or 'A POW was overheard to remark..'Maybe the most famous was R.V. Jones' 'Most Secret War' and the X gerat and Knickerbine RDF systems. He says 'We could not find the equipment and had all but given up when a POW was overheard to say 'The equipment is there, but the English will never find it'. This drove us to greater efforts'. In this book the scource of that 'Overherd remark' is finally revealed. The M Room is another story of men and women working in secret to bring about Allied Victory in WW2. No heroics, no recognition just quiet dedication. Written in a informal non judgemental style, the book presents the history of Allied interigation of POW's. Futher it cast light and clarification on what and how information was obtained and used in such diverse manners as the Black Propoganda radio transmissions ( Churchill's Wizard's), the location and subsequent actions against the Nazi V weapon sites, and the guidance of those investigating war crimes for Nuremberg. It is a must read for those intrested in the political and intillegence warfare of WW2. A lot of ideas will need to be rethought.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gail Durham on 4 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an American born at the beginning of the war, I have always been fascinated by stories of what it was really like and what made a difference. Helen Fry has taken a subject virtually unknown for many decades and brought it to light. Most of those secret listeners have passed on without ever being truly honored for the secret work they did. The M Room tells the tale and tells it well. Fritz Lustig, one of the few still living listeners, a Jewish refugee who came to London in 1938 finally found a way to serve his adopted country by listening to Nazi prisoner of war officers who revealed important information when they had no clue they were being listened. Quite a fascinating chapter in World War II history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B.D. Cameron on 30 May 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story doesn't flow but jumps about a bit too much. Fascinating story though. In places a lot more detail could have been given
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Marmorus on 5 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a rather disappointing book. It appears to have been self-published; a firmer and more professional editorial hand would have spared the more sensitive reader a mind-numbing exposure to a copious stream of of cliches, and occasional tautologies and errors of punctuation, grammar and page layout. The text is based upon original transcripts which are as fragmentary as they are numerous (referred to with tiresome frequency as "snippets"), and the author has succeeded in imposing upon this diffuse material no more order than would be expected in a poorly-shuffled deck of cards. This leads to many repetitions and unsettling to-and-fro shifts of subject and chronology. The author seems to have an imperfect understanding of the secret German weapons developments which form the most important part of the information gained by the recordings, and her explanations of them lack clarity. At times her portrayal of the characters of senior German military prisoners veers towards stereotype or even caricature, and the book would have benefitted from less shallow moralising and more academic detachment. It improves somewhat in its treatment of disclosures concerning German war crimes, a subject clearly closer to the author's heart, but throughout the book there is excessive interpolation of the relatively uninteresting personal history of her principal human information source, which comes to read suspiciously like padding.
The subject would lend itself to a well-written and well-produced book, but such a book is yet to be published.
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