Moving from the Middle-Eastern campaigns of the First World War to bohemian Berlin in the 1920s, to the horror of the concentration camps and the trials in Belsen and Nuremberg, this book tells the story of two German men whose lives diverged, and intersected, in an unusual way.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE JQ WINGATE PRIZE 2015 SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD
'A gripping thriller, an unspeakable crime, an essential history.' JOHN LE CARR
Hanns Alexander was the son of a prosperous German family who fled Berlin for London in the 1930s, becoming an investigator of war crimes.
Rudolf H ss was a farmer and soldier who became the Kommandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp and oversaw the deaths of over a million men, women and children.
The hunt was on.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, the first British War Crimes Investigation Team is assembled to hunt down the senior Nazi officials responsible for the greatest atrocities the world has ever seen. Lieutenant Hanns Alexander is one of the lead investigators, Rudolf H ss his most elusive target.
In this book Thomas Harding reveals for the very first time the full account of H ss' capture. Moving from the Middle-Eastern campaigns of the First World War to bohemian Berlin in the 1920s, to the horror of the concentration camps and the trials in Belsen and Nuremberg, Hanns and Rudolf tells the story of two German men whose lives diverged, and intersected, in an astonishing way.
Thomas Harding is a journalist who has written for The Sunday Times, the Financial Times and the Guardian, among other publications. He founded a television station in Oxford, England, and for many years was an award-winning publisher of a newspaper in West Virginia. He lives in Hampshire, England.
Only at his great uncle's funeral in 2006 did Thomas Harding discover that Hanns Alexander, whose Jewish family fled to Britain from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, hunted down and captured Rudolf Hoess, the ruthless commandant of Auschwitz, at the end of World War Two. By tracing the lives of these two men in parallel until their dramatic convergence in 1946, Harding puts the monstrous evil of the Final Solution in two specific but very different human contexts. The result is a compelling book full of unexpected revelations and insights, an authentic addition to our knowledge and understanding of this dark chapter in European history. No-one who starts reading it can fail to go on to the end. -- David Lodge This is a stunning book...both chilling and deeply disturbing. It is also an utterly compelling and exhilarating account of one man's extraordinary hunt for the Kommandant of the most notorious death camp of all, Auschwitz-Birkenau. -- James Holland A gripping thriller, an unspeakable crime, an essential history. -- John Le Carre Fascinating and moving...This is a remarkable book, which deserves a wide readership. -- Max Hastings The Sunday Times Thomas Harding has shed intriguing new light on the strange poison of Nazism, and one of its most lethal practitioners... Meticulously researched and deeply felt. -- Ben Macintyre The Times, Book of the Week
Short-listed for Costa Biography Award 2013
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