Accidental Journey: A Cambridge Internee's Memoir of World War II

Overview

Life at Cambridge was idyllic for the student elite in the Fall of 1939, redolent of a Brideshead Revisited ambiance that sheltered those inside from the harsh political realities brewing outside. Mark Lynton, born Max Otto Ludwig Lowenstein, a German Jew from a privileged background, was not unlike the other students, who barely noticed the war in those early days, deeping to his routine of attending lectures, playing squash and golf, going to movies and sherry parties. This all changed in an instant, as German ...

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Overview

Life at Cambridge was idyllic for the student elite in the Fall of 1939, redolent of a Brideshead Revisited ambiance that sheltered those inside from the harsh political realities brewing outside. Mark Lynton, born Max Otto Ludwig Lowenstein, a German Jew from a privileged background, was not unlike the other students, who barely noticed the war in those early days, deeping to his routine of attending lectures, playing squash and golf, going to movies and sherry parties. This all changed in an instant, as German and Austrian resident aliens were gathered up with no time to pack and sent to an internment camp, then thrown headlong into a turbulent seven-year odyssey far removed from the lotus-eating days of student life.

This remarkable story follows the author and the "Cambridge Gang" of internees through the war years, as they exchange privilege for privation and become part of hte war effort, first primarily with shovels in the Pioneer Corps, then in British uniform in the Royal Tanks Corps, and finally, as the author with his flawless German is tapped for interrogation duty, with the Intelligence Corps, where he interrogates such top Nazi officials as Dr. Werner Best, the complex, cultured German viceroy stationed in Denmark. This is a personal history of the most gripping and entertaining kind.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Lynton, né Max-Otto Ludwig Loewenstein, a German Jew, had just entered Cambridge University to read law when WWII broke out. Interned as a resident alien in England and Canada, in due course he was allowed to join the British Army and saw action as a tank officer in the European theater of operations. Lynton downplays in his memoir instances of personal peril, glides lightly over wartime tragedies and provides an incongruously lighthearted, enchanting account of his war. The most memorable portion of the book involves Lynton's activities after transferring to the Intelligence Corps, where he had dealings with such captives as Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt, Auschwitz commandant Rudolph Hoess and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler. A lively and irrepressibly jolly writer, the author seems determined that we enjoy his memoir as much as he enjoyed the adventures and misadventures it records. Lynton is now a New York corporate executive.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lynton, n Max-Otto Ludwig Loewenstein, a German Jew, had just entered Cambridge University to read law when WWII broke out. Interned as a resident alien in England and Canada, in due course he was allowed to join the British Army and saw action as a tank officer in the European theater of operations. Lynton downplays in his memoir instances of personal peril, glides lightly over wartime tragedies and provides an incongruously lighthearted, enchanting account of his war. The most memorable portion of the book involves Lynton's activities after transferring to the Intelligence Corps, where he had dealings with such captives as Field Marshall Gerd von Rundstedt, Auschwitz commandant Rudolph Hoess and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler. A lively and irrepressibly jolly writer, the author seems determined that we enjoy his memoir as much as he enjoyed the adventures and misadventures it records. Lynton is now a New York corporate executive. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In the early days of World War II, the British rounded up and interned German and Austrian "friendly aliens," first in the English countryside, then in Canada. Max-Otto Ludwig Loewenstein, a student at Cambridge when war broke out in Europe, was interned in England, then shipped to Canada with German POWs. He was released to work in the Pioneers in England and eventually allowed to join the Third Royal Tank regiment (where his name was involuntarily changed to Mark Lynton). Being fluent in German, French, and English, he was promoted to major in the Political Section, Intelligence Division, Third Army of the Rhine. His humor is a bit overdone, though one would do well to dull the horrors of war a bit, and his self-deprecation is unnecessary. His opinions about the political constitution of postwar Germany are fresh if unsubstantiated. Recommended for a well-rounded World War II collection in academic or public libraries.-Harry Willems, Kansas Lib. System, Iola
Denise Perry Donavin
Lynton, ne Max Otto Ludwig Loewenstein, was a Jewish, German-born student at Cambridge when the Second World War broke out. He blithely continued his bon vivant lifestyle until suddenly, in 1939, he and other Cambridge students of German and Austrian birth were rounded up and sent to detention camps in England and Canada. Lynton was speedily released once his presence in the Canadian camp was discovered by an old family friend who held a high-ranking position in the British government. Internment was only the beginning of his wartime experiences. Upon his return to Cambridge, Lynton discovered that his domestic servant had destroyed his thesis notes (in case they were evidence of spying activities). When he decided to join the British military service, he was assigned to the Pioneer Corps (being determined by the government too dangerous an alien to serve in the military). However, Lynton was later transferred to the tank division, participated in the invasion of Germany, and by the war's end found himself working in intelligence, helping to interrogate high-ranking German prisoners. This wartime comedy of errors shares some funny, thoughtful insights into the Brits at war.
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The remarkable story of Mark Lynton, n‚e Max-Otto Ludwig Loewenstien, a German Jew who became an integral of the war effort for the British Army as a German-speaking interrogator of Nazi officials.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879515775
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2000

    History Made Painless

    I had the pleasure of knowing Mark Lynton and believe that his unique erudite sense of humor permeates his tome. It is almost like being with him on his journey...one that rarely lacks for excitement! I urge all of you to share this experience.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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