Reviews for Hunting Eichmann : How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi


Booklist Reviews 2009 January #1
The pursuit, capture, and abduction of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann has been chronicled before, but it is a thrilling story that deserves retelling, particularly since recently uncovered information enhances the drama. Bascomb spread a wide net in researching the 15-year hunt, and he fills his book with previously unknown or neglected details, utilizing the remembrances of former Mossad agents, German and American intelligence operatives, and Argentine Nazi sympathizers who tried to find Eichmann after his seizure. Bascomb includes loads of juicy tidbits, such as squabbling within the Israeli government over planning the capture; the indifference of CIA agents, who apparently knew of Eichmann s location; and details on how he managed his escape from Europe. The reactions of his captors as they held him in a Buenos Aires safe house are particularly interesting, as their emotions range from elation to curiosity to cold contempt for the seemingly banal, fearful man who perpetrated monstrous deeds. This is an outstanding account of a sustained and worthy manhunt.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #1
Step-by-step account of the 15-year pursuit of the Holocaust's leading bureaucrat.When Hitler ordered Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler to kill all European Jews, Himmler assigned the details to Obsturmbannf√ľhrer Adolf Eichmann. More civil servant than warrior, Eichmann managed train schedules, kept records and dealt with foreign governments responsible for identifying and rounding up Jews. He ended the war an obscure figure absent from Allied lists of Nazi war criminals. Soon, however, survivors, including Simon Wiesenthal, organized to track down those responsible for the genocide who were still free, and Eichmann became a prime target. Bascomb (Red Mutiny: Eleven Fateful Days on the Battleship Potemkin, 2007, etc.) plumbed the archives and interviewed survivors to produce a surprisingly detailed history of Eichmann's movements during his years of freedom, as well as the work by many individuals that led to his capture. At the end of war, Eichmann spent seven months in Allied prison camps under an alias. Fearing detection after his name became prominent during the Nuremberg trials, he escaped and spent several dreary years as a lumberjack and chicken farmer. He moved to Argentina with the help of an efficient organization created by former SS officers to smuggle ex-Nazis out of Europe. When his wife and children disappeared from Austria in 1952, it was obvious Eichmann must still be alive, but by then the U.S. and West German governments had lost interest in hunting Nazis, and even Israel gave it a low priority. Several individuals turned up clues to his location, but not until 1959 did an Israeli secret service agent visit Argentina and confirm his presence there. Bascomb devotes the book's second half to the complex mission that enabled Israeli agents to kidnap Eichmann and spirit him back for trial.Absorbing and appalling, with some grim satisfaction provided by a stark depiction of the unrepentant Eichmann's execution. Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2008 November #2
The author of high-profile titles like The Perfect Mile and Red Mutiny, Bascomb takes on the task of tracking Adolf Eichmann's disappearance post-World War II and eventual capture by Israel's Mossad-even finding the passport that Eichmann used to escape Europe. With a four-city tour; rights sold to nine countries. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Library Journal Reviews 2009 January #1
Bascomb (The Perfect Mile) revisits a well-documented episode in the establishment of Israel and postwar international crime and punishment, the seizure of the Holocaust logistician Adolf Eichmann by Mossad agents in 1960. Eichmann's arrest, trial, and execution, unfolding over three years, was arguably Israel's primal, grand international initiative, and among the varied reactions to the proceedings Hannah Arendt's controversial rumination stands out as a key 20th-century text in journalistic moral philosophy. Bascomb's concern, however, is action. In a singing prose style, he demonstrates that while the discovery of Eichmann in Argentina and subsequent abduction operation were fairly simple, virtually everything that had to go right went brilliantly, final testament that the task was managed and executed with great discipline. The details elicited from Bascomb's interviews with a startling range of people associated with the events freshen interest in this famous story, here enhanced by the use of previously unpublished photographs. Recommended for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/08.]-Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll., PA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 December #2

After WWII, notorious Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann lived comfortably in Buenos Aires under an alias. Nazi hunters like Simon Wiesenthal sought Eichmann fruitlessly until 1956, when Eichmann's son bragged about his father's war exploits to his girlfriend's father, a half-Jew who had been blinded by the Gestapo and who alerted a Jewish attorney general of Hesse in Germany known for his prosecution of Nazis. Bascomb (The Perfect Mile) details Eichmann's wartime atrocities and postwar escapes, and how, in 1960, the Israelis decided to have secret service operatives (one of whom, Isser Harel, recounted these events in 1975's The House on Garibaldi Street)--mostly Holocaust survivors--secretly kidnap Eichmann and fly him to Israel on El Al, disguised as an airline employee. Tried in Israel in 1961, Eichmann was executed in 1962. These were early days for Israel's now-legendary intelligence agencies, Mossad and Shin Bet, and it's fascinating how they accomplished their goal without the technical and monetary support that's now standard. Although Bascomb's prose is awkward, his work is well researched, including interviews with former Israeli operatives and El Al staff who participated in the capture, as well as Argentine fascists. This is a gripping read. Illus. (Mar.)

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