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Reviews for The Nazi Conspiracy

by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The Tehran Conference was a pivotal event of World War II, but there was danger lurking in the shadows. This is a strange—and strangely entertaining—book. Meltzer and Mensch, whose careers have included TV documentaries, nonfiction, thrillers, and comic books, acknowledge that the events they recount may not have happened, and they have obviously filled in some blank spaces with reasonable speculation. The authors focus on a possible plot by the Nazis to assassinate Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin—the “Big Three,” as they were called by the media of the time—when they met for a crucial conference in Tehran in 1943 to plan strategy. Several chapters of the book deal with the problems of setting up the conference, especially Stalin’s insistence that it must be held in Tehran. The Nazis, who had a network of spies and sympathizers in the city as well as tapped communications line between Roosevelt and Churchill, were aware that the conference was going to happen and saw an opportunity to reshape the global order. There was a plan to send a squad of commandos into the Soviet Embassy, where the meetings were being held, through underground tunnels. But the NKVD, one of the Soviet intelligence agencies, discovered the plot and intercepted the group before they could do any damage. Much of this territory has already been covered, but Meltzer and Mensch dig up some new material. They admit that several researchers, pointing to contradictions in various firsthand accounts and a lack of documentation, have described the “plot” as a Soviet hoax. However, after sifting through the evidence, the authors conclude that there probably was a plot. As in the authors’ previous two co-authored books, The First Conspiracy and The Lincoln Conspiracy, the narrative sometimes wanders away from the main story, but it makes for interesting reading. A colorful trek through a labyrinth of twists and turns that could have changed history. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Meltzer, a bestselling novelist and author of history-based nonfiction, reunites with his frequent coauthor (and documentary filmmaker) Mensch for this thrilling account of a WWII German plan that, if it had succeeded—and if it really existed at all—could have changed the course of history in a massive way. In 1943, with the war turning against Germany, Adolf Hitler green-lighted a plot to assassinate all three of the Allied leaders (Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt) at a scheduled conference in Tehran. The elaborate plot was eventually discovered and foiled, and the story of how that happened is the kind of thing that would make a terrific historical thriller. Except it’s all true—or is it? There is some skepticism about Operation Long Jump. The man who was supposedly the leader of the mission, Otto Skorzeny, denied the operation was ever launched, and there is evidence that the whole thing was a Russian fabrication (it was the Russians who informed the U.S. and England about the plot). The authors, however, address the naysayers' arguments and make a compelling case that Long Jump was real. A fascinating and potentially controversial book.

Publishers Weekly
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Meltzer and Mensch follow up The Lincoln Conspiracy with an action-packed account of the German plan to assassinate the leaders of the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union in Tehran in 1943. The story begins after the plot has been discovered, with Franklin Roosevelt hunkered down in the back of a nondescript car on his way to the Soviet embassy while his body double rides through the city’s streets in a presidential motorcade. From there, the authors flash backward, recounting the attack on Pearl Harbor; Allied assassinations of enemy leaders, including Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto; and the infiltration of Iran by German spies including Franz Mayr, a sleeper agent who kept his affiliation with Nazi intelligence secret despite not getting any communications from his superiors for almost two years. Though Mayr was arrested by British intelligence, the German paratroopers he helped infiltrate into Iran remained, and when a Turkish valet assigned to the British ambassador to Iran leaked information about the top-secret summit, Nazi officials hatched a plan to use the commandos to assassinate the “Big Three”—or so Soviet intelligence officials claimed. Meltzer and Mensch acknowledge doubts about the plot’s actual existence yet convincingly argue that it was real, and provide necessary historical context while setting a brisk, thriller-like pace. WWII buffs will be enthralled. (Jan.)