NONFICTION

The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi

256p. bibliog. index. map. notes. photos. reprods. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. Sept. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-43099-9; ebook $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-56239-3.
COPY ISBN
Gr 8 Up—The author of the adult book Hunting Eichmann (Houghton, 2009) tells the harrowing story of the Israeli agents responsible for tracking down Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi leader who orchestrated the extermination of six million Jews. In the years following World War II, many Jews were involved in attempts to find Nazi war criminals who had gone into hiding all over the globe and bring them to trial. Eichmann was a prime target, but no one had heard anything about him for years until an offhand comment in a letter led to a seven-year saga that involved a diverse cast including Mossad agents, regular citizens, and politicians, all with the single purpose of capturing this man. From cafés in Buenos Aires to the halls of the fledgling Israeli government, from false identities to secret drops, this story has all the hallmarks of a spy novel. Bascomb has a knack for turning complex detail into a suspenseful, heart-pounding narrative. Every face is catalogued, every procedure thoroughly outlined, every moment accounted for in this tale that requires patience and perseverance; at times it unfolds at a breakneck pace and at others, it is tantalizingly slow. The author depicts Eichmann as more than just a soulless Nazi monster and target; he is also seen as a father and husband, giving this account some balance. The depth of research in this fine work is evident in the level of information provided and in the extensive bibliography and source notes. An excellent choice for libraries looking to extend their World War II and Jewish history collections.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Dismissing Hannah Arendt via footnote, Bascomb concisely establishes Adolf Eichmann as an enthusiastic and painstaking enforcer of Hitler's Final Solution, even when told, late in the war, to cease and desist: "[not] even Hitler himself was going to divert him from completing his masterpiece: the destruction of Hungarian Jewry." The first chapter outlines Eichmann's wartime activities and escape from the victorious Allies in 1945; the last sees him in 1961 in the bulletproof glass booth in Israel's Beit Ha'am, on trial for his crimes. It's the in-between time that most interests Bascomb: Eichmann's settlement in Argentina under an alias and the secret, careful work done by Israel to locate and bring him to justice. Thriller fans will find all their favorite plot points here, from disguises and coded messages to abduction and interrogation, and Bascomb keeps on the right side of the fine line that distinguishes suspense from sensationalism. Photographs are included throughout the text, adding not just to the evidence of Eichmann's guilt but to the reader's sense of being along on the mission, with surveillance photos of Eichmann and his (shabby) house in Argentina, the logbook of the El Al plane used to transport him to Israel, and even a picture of the needle used to sedate the prisoner. A "list of participants" precedes the text, and it's useful in keeping track of the many Mossad and Shin Bet agents who undertook the tracking and retrieval; a thorough bibliography, notes, and an index (unseen) are appended. roger sutton

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to 6000+ annual reviews of books, databases, and more

As low as $12/month