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SS1: The Unlikely Death of Heinrich Himmler Hardcover – 12 Feb 2001

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (12 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841153060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841153063
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Hugh Thomas paints a vivid picture of the Nuremberg trial of the leading Nazis. The court's heating system had not been repaired by the time it started its sessions, in the winter of 1945-1946. As a consequence, learned lawyers traipsed the aisles in ski boots, and one of the British counsel for the prosecution, Anthony Marecco, wore mittens as well as two pairs of tights. It is this kind of detail that brings history to life. However, most of this book about that most monstrous of the Nazis, Heinrich Himmler, is inevitably short of amusing details. It is a grim read but a fascinating one. The key question that Hugh Thomas asks from the outset, is how could an inveterate plotter and schemer, an evil intelligence, an organisational genius like Himmler, allow himself to be captured so easily by the Allies at the end of the war? Was it really Himmler who was captured? Was it really him who took the poison capsule to evade questioning, and was later buried in mysterious secrecy on the Luneberg Heath? Among the first doubters of the official account of Himmler's death and interment was one Kim Philby--it makes for a dark and compelling read. Thomas' previous works include Hess; A Tale of Two Murders, which led to a six-month enquiry by Scotland Yard and the immediate suppression of its concluding report. This new book is likely to stir up a similar hornet's nest. It would be unfair to give away Thomas' conclusion, but given the facts, one is left wondering uncomfortably about the truth of the affair. Why all the secrecy? There is "a hundred-year ban on material relating to Himmler's death, an absence of post-mortem evidence, a paltry identification procedure, unacceptable photographic evidence, and inconsistent and occasionally false accounts of his death." It all adds up to a mystery as dark as anything in the dark annals of the Nazi years. --Christopher Hart

From the Back Cover

On 22nd May 1945, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, the Allies celebrated the capture of the most important member of the Nazi hierarchy, Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler. The SS leader was arrested and interrogated but committed suicide in Allied custody by taking poison from a capsule concealed in his mouth. Then he was buried at a secret site on Lunberg Heath. But Himmler did not rest in peace, If Himmler it was who was buried there.

Months later the British disinterred, re-examined and cremated his body. Yet in 1946 MI6's most talented, if treacherous, agent, Kim Philby, was still not convinced that the story of Himmler's death made any sense at all. Philby realised that a man of Himmler's organisational genius, a plotter of great intricacy and sophistication who recognised Germany's inevitable defeat as early as 1943, was unlikely to have just blundered into the arms of the Allies. What had happened.

Hugh Thomas set out to answer Philby's question and has uncovered a maze of corruption, high finance, political gambles and international intrigue. SS1 unearths not just Himmler's grave, but reveals secrets that have long remained buried and shawowy figures who would rather they had stayed that way.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Hugh Thomas attempts to create a mystery where there is none ,a conspiracy where there is none and a book when there shouldent be one. As in his previous book "Hess" he chooses to ignore all the concrete evidence and bases his book on the most ridiculous of theories that a man was found nearing the end of the war who was the exact double of Himmler whom he managed to convince to kill himself on capture.A man who happened to be under arrest at the time for defeatism,wow what a patriotic candidate for self sacrifice, i could go on but it would be as pointless as the book,bizarre theories and badly written this book has been written for sensationalism and bares no relation to historical fact...
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Format: Hardcover
A disappointing effort from Hugh Thomas, following his keenly argued past work. The research is undoubtedly thorough in several respects, but Mr. Thomas seems unwilling to go the extra mile and tell us what he thinks really happened to Himmler... The book thus ends prematurely with a chapter seemingly missing.
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Format: Hardcover
As an academic myself, whose special subject is the secret financial accords during the 2nd World War, I am staggered at this book's depth. The author is a surgeon and forensic expert of international repute, whose reasoned expert forensic views suggest that the identification of Himmler was unsound. As an historian I am not qualified to comment on these issues.
But the ease with which the author cut a swathe through secret archives, does raise huge questions about the training and effectiveness of historians in the last half-century, and their ready acceptance of official versions.
Moreover this book raises the unpleasant issue of an uniquely British offer of immunity from prosecution to the actual architect of the holocaust. This demands an overdue explanation from the Government.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Why would the Master of strategy not have done this? I have always thought that the picture of his dead body looked a little odd.. I won't spoil the story, but can't see any reason why it wouldn't be possible. If you are still wondering, then look in his File, now out of the Official Secrets time zone..... Its Empty!
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