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The Führer Seed

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NEL, London, 1981
(price: £1.50; 268 pages)
first published in the USA in 1979 by William Morrow & Co.

dedication: This book is dedicated to Reni Browne. Of course there is no way to really say thank you.

The blurb on the back:

Dying, the old evil had spawned a new terror.
Unsuspected, unrecognisable, for thirty years it had fed and grown, lurking in the blood, waiting, waiting. . .
But now it was ready to emerge, spread the contagion of its madness. The Day was at hand. Martin Bormann had come forward. Of his own free will he was presenting himself to the world's press. His reason: an announcement so shattering that his own safety was no longer of any importance.
His message? That Adolf Hitler's son lived.

opening lines:
In his quarters in the Mishmar Elijah Kibbutz, off the road the Israelis called the Road of Courage midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a man lay caught in the dream that always preceded his waking up.

Well, it’s an exploitation piece, of course, but this story of a mayoral candidate in Berlin being exposed as Hitler’s only boy-child is a rollicking little read with much to commend it. That is, the stuff about Kurt Hitler is great fun – particularly because we never quite get inside his head to work out his relationship to his genetic heritage – though you may have to ignore the subplot about a concentration camp-survivor turned assassin: it’s way too pat a piece of psychology to work, and feels vaguely distasteful.

You may also wish to take the celebration of Mossad with a pinch of salt. But then this is the 1970s. At that time Mossad was still an organization with a great deal of international public sympathy: its kidnapping of Eichmann and its operation at Entebbe combined derring-do with a sense of natural (if rough) justice. There were other incidents – the murder of a waiter in Norway in 1973, for example – but they never got the same attention, and the illegal capture of Mordechai Vanunu and other unsavoury episodes had yet to tarnish the image in the popular mind.

These are incidental complaints, however, The central thrust of the book is a fabulous conspiracy theory about a cabal of powerful Germans determined to reinstate the Third Reich, preferably with money donated by Colonel Quaddafi. And it’s always nice to see Pavarotti and Placido Domingo turn up in such a caper. Along with Dan Rather and Barbara Walters.

One other point – going back to my old hobby-horse about the mismatch of cover and content – Kurt Hitler has ‘a shock of unmanageable brown hair’ (p.13) and ‘doesn’t wear anything but grey’ (p.125). Doesn’t look anything like the guy on the cover, then.

the eyes have it


like this? try this...

Gillian Freeman, The Leader