2010: 55. Hunting Eichmann

"The man from bus 203 was late.”

Hunting Eichmann, Neal Bascomb

        Short take - absolutely fascinating story, mediocre writing.  More detail - this is the story of the hunt for Eichmann, who managed to escape Nazi Germany to Argentina after the war, and how a group of Jewish survivors managed to find him, and convince Israel to capture him and bring him to trial.  The story could not be more interesting.  Starting with a brief precis of Eichmann’s unimaginable deeds, turning to his escape, then to the tale of how a disparate group of Jewish men tracked him down (when, unlike today, most people and nations couldn’t be less interested in finding ex-Nazis), and then how the Israeli secret service entered into a top top secret expedition to capture him, which alone could be a thriller, so fraught with danger was the enterprise.  I learned quite a bit - like just how Nazified Argentina really was, and how tricky the Israeli extraction was (since they technically had no legal right to capture the man).  Absolutely fascinating stuff.

      BUT, the writing isn’t great - a lot of quoting without attribution, and seeming to be in people’s heads in a way that seems implausible. I’m not saying that it isn’t all true - I believe it was, but the history is just a wee bit too popular for me.  I like to know where quotes come from, and this seems a bit too much like a story and not enough like a history book.  Plus, I felt the book ended a little quickly.  After all that, I would have liked to read a bit more about the trial itself.  I mean, I guess I can go pick up Arendt, but it seemed like we got a great build-up, and then BAM, it was over.  But that is nit-picky.  If you like history generally, and aren’t too picky (i.e. you don’t still think of yourself as a trained historian, even though you happen to be an attorney), you should enjoy this book for the amazing story it contains.

Date/Place Completed:  August 2010; D.C.

Categories:  Non-Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017