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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating revealing book
Unlike the other readers of this book, who seem to have a political axe to grind, I found this book gripping from the first page. The author - and I think it's a first book? - makes some very complex ideas accessible - and shows vividly how they impacted on individuals. These 'crusaders' - and they were in some ways as terrible as medieval crusaders - really come alive,...
Published on 8 Nov 2006 by D. Boehmer

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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD YARN RUINED !
This is a good yarn ruined ! The subtitle of the book is, "The true story of the 1938 Nazi expedition into Tibet". If the author had limited himself to this he might have had a winner on his hands, but sadly for the reader it didn't work out that way. The actual story of Schafer's expedition could have been told in less than 200 pages, but Hale pads it out to over 500...
Published on 19 April 2006 by Capt I. McRae


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating revealing book, 8 Nov 2006
By 
D. Boehmer "Jasmin Lehmann" (Leipzig) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Himmler's Crusade (Paperback)
Unlike the other readers of this book, who seem to have a political axe to grind, I found this book gripping from the first page. The author - and I think it's a first book? - makes some very complex ideas accessible - and shows vividly how they impacted on individuals. These 'crusaders' - and they were in some ways as terrible as medieval crusaders - really come alive, as they seek to work their up in the scientific elite of the Third Reich. Hale covers a vast field: from Berlin to the Himlayas and to the horrifying story of the 'Jewish Skeleton Collection'. What link could there possibly be between an expedition to central Asia and the appalling world catastrophe triggered by Adolf Hitler in 1939? This is the question asked by the author. Hale reconstructs with documentary precision, and conveys to us, a wonderfully written story of the setting up and carrying out of an expedition undertaken in 1938-39 by five SS officers, led by a young Hauptsturmfuhrer and zoologist, Ernst Schafer with the enthusiastic support of Reichsfuhrer Himmler. The book poses questions constantly, weaving together the story of a journey to Lhasa and the imminent unfolding of the terrible tragedy of Nazism. It investigates the biographies of the protagonists and retraces the steps through which racial theories had been drawn up over the previous years in academic studies, ready to be gathered by the heads of the Nazi movement and used as a murderous instrument in the formation of militant fanaticism and guidelines for the actions of the third Reich, in its martial dimension and in the concept and carrying out of the genocide of Jews. Christopher Hale reveals the intertwining of the fantasies that appear to direct the expedition towards research into the origins of a mythical Aryan race, guarded in the most protected and inaccessible lands of Tibet, and anthropological `research', which produced nameless horror in the reality of Auschwitz and involved and overwhelmed even some of the members of the expedition. It is a text that finds some answers, but continues to ask us disturbing questions about the dimensions of the extended network of responsibility, once again forcing us to examine the worrying normality of evil.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An examination of a mad mindset, 16 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Himmler's Crusade (Paperback)
This book is not just about the Nazi Tibet expeditions but is a meander through the strange mindset of the German nation in the 30s, with their ludicrous racial pseudoscience and 'occult' hstory. By modern standards, the intellectual assumptions underpinning the Third Reich are straight out of a lunatic asylum. I found the book a fascinating source of odd bits of information. It's not an exciting page turner but something to dip into.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD YARN RUINED !, 19 April 2006
By 
Capt I. McRae "The Ancient Mariner" (Angus, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Himmler's Crusade (Paperback)
This is a good yarn ruined ! The subtitle of the book is, "The true story of the 1938 Nazi expedition into Tibet". If the author had limited himself to this he might have had a winner on his hands, but sadly for the reader it didn't work out that way. The actual story of Schafer's expedition could have been told in less than 200 pages, but Hale pads it out to over 500 pages, with so much extraneous material that book becomes frankly boring.

The book is full of adjectives which show that the book is not really objective, but is a tour de force of Hales own opinions. As an example, whether you agree with her or not, Savitri Devi's books do not deserve the epithet "repellent" ! Odd perhaps, but not repellent. Hale's book is also full of petty (and not so petty !) errors of fact and figure which call into question the thoroughness of his own research. For instance, on page 53 he misnames Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Also in several places, despite describing himself in one part of the book as a "British journalist", he makes that so American mistake of confusing Britain with England, as on page 231 where he says, "Hitler calculated that France and England wanted to avoid war". He repeats this confusion in several places. On page 440, he says, "After September 1939 no-one in the German High Command could predict the outcome of a war with England". Mr. Hale, Germany was never at war with England ! The war was with Britain, of which England is just one part. It was noticeable too that some of the more lurid "quotes" in the last part of the book lack references to show where they came from, like Beger on Jewish female bottoms on page 489. This detracts from the authenticity of such remarks.

The last 100 pages or so of the book have absolutely nothing to do with the 1938 Nazi Expedition into Tibet, but are yet another reiteration of the sins of Germany in World War 2, and I suspect this was put in purely to make the book politically correct and ensure publication.

In sum, this could have been a very interesting book if Hale had stuck to the subject in hand. It does shine through in places when the actual expedition is being written about, but the rest of the book is so dull that the good parts are overshadowed. I was left with the abiding impression that the boring parts one and two were only there as an excuse for the politically correct part three. All three parts were so full or errors, minor and major, that the book is useless as a research tool, and it is so dull that it is not even a good yarn.

Shame really, but I suppose it might be a cure for insomnia !
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars HIMMLER'S CRUSADE, 6 Aug 2006
This review is from: Himmler's Crusade (Paperback)
The word Crusade infers to me the combination of effort of hundreds, if not thousands of individuals to a common purpose -for example to rid the World of Malaria or Aids could become a modern day crusade.

The Book entitled 'Himmler's Crusade' appears to be nothing of the sort. Yes, Himmler at one time was very interested in race research and encouraged various Doctors and other Scientists in projects, as the book describes. However, although Himmler was in a position to authorise and facilitate such research, it was not his prime concern for the War years that his activities are chiefly known for. Thus the expeditions of a few Germans to Tibet around 1938 is hardly part of a Crusade

The involvement of Himmler in the story is somewhat peripheral - a bit like writing a book indicating Adolf Hitler had a great interest in German postage stamps -because after he came to power, they bore his image.

This is a book that describes those expeditions to Tibet pre -war and some of the research made during the war on the bodies of dead concentration inmates that had been passed to medical institutes. It is factual and descriptive - but may disappoint some readers who are expecting some Himmler revelation.
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