PRISONER #7: RUDOLF HESS: The 30 Years in Jail of Hitler's Deputy Fuhrer by Eugene K. Bird

PRISONER #7: RUDOLF HESS: The 30 Years in Jail of Hitler's Deputy Fuhrer

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Reichsminister Rudolf Hess ended up alone in Spandau Prison after the depature of the six other Nazi murderers. Bird was the prison's American commandant, ""the only living person Hess has taken into his confidence since 1941."" Bird keeps pressing him about his 1941 peace-seeking flight to Britain (did Hitler approve it? did Hess know the Russian invasion plans?) but nothing of decisive importance emerges. And why, having devoted himself to Hess' reminiscences, did Bird leave a box of Hess' Nuremberg writings unopened ""for three years"" after they were ""handed to me unread"" in 1970? Bird is at pains to defend Hess' sanity, though it seems clear that after having been drugged, interrogated, etc. by British intelligence from 1941 to 1945 -- ""The most examined man in the world"" -- Hess was quite shattered. Bird views the Nuremberg criminals as a bunch of eccentrics, depicts Hitler's right-hand man Hess as a blameless combination of Bertrand Russell and Lochinvar, and protests the Russians' severe attitude. Hess himself observes that his lobster dinners and top-notch medics gave him a far higher living standard than most Russians or Germans have. This intriguing document leaves open many questions about who has used whom as ""a political pawn,"" about Hess' mental condition, and about Bird's purpose.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Viking