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Hitler's Peace

Hitler's Peace

3.7 9
by Philip Kerr

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Autumn 1943. Since Stalingrad, Hitler has known that Germany cannot win the war. The upcoming Allied conference in Teheran will set the ground rules for their second front-and for the peace to come. Realizing that the unconditional surrender FDR has demanded will leave Germany in ruins, Hitler has put out peace feelers. (Unbeknownst to him, so has Himmler, who is


Autumn 1943. Since Stalingrad, Hitler has known that Germany cannot win the war. The upcoming Allied conference in Teheran will set the ground rules for their second front-and for the peace to come. Realizing that the unconditional surrender FDR has demanded will leave Germany in ruins, Hitler has put out peace feelers. (Unbeknownst to him, so has Himmler, who is ready to stage a coup in order to reach an accord.) FDR and Stalin are willing to negotiate. Only Churchill refuses to listen.

At the center of this high-stakes game of deals and doubledealing is Willard Mayer, an OSS operative who has been chosen by FDR to serve as his envoy. He is the perfect foil for the steamy world of deception, betrayals, and assassinations that make up the moral universe of realpolitik. A cool, self-absorbed, emotionally distant womanizer with a questionable past, Mayer has embraced the stylish philosophy of the day, in which no values are fixed. In the course of the novel, his beliefs will be put to the ultimate test.

But as compelling as Mayer is, the key players in this drama-FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Hitler, as well as Himmler, Bormann, Molotov, and Schellenberg (with marvelous walk-ons by Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt, and Evelyn Waugh)-are astonishingly true-to-life.

Hitler's Peace is Philip Kerr in top form. With his sure hand for pacing, his firm grasp of historical detail, and his explosively creative imagination about what might have been, he has fashioned a totally convincing thinking man's thriller in the great tradition of Eric Ambler and Graham Greene.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A scandalous yet plausible scenario... a thriller [in which] the historical dice are well-shaken." —Los Angeles Times

"[Kerr] quantum leaps the limitations of genre fiction. Most thrillers insult your intelligence; Kerr assaults your ignorance." —Esquire

Patrick Anderson
There is, of course, a vast literature on Nazi Germany, in both fiction and nonfiction, and some readers already will have covered the ground explored here. But Kerr, perhaps best known for his "Berlin Noir" trilogy, is a close student of wartime Germany, and for other readers Hitler's Peace will offer an action-packed, well-researched introduction to the Nazi cosmos, as well as to the Big Three leaders and the Tehran conference. The novel is always readable but inevitably uneven, because the loathsome reality of the Nazis is a good deal more fascinating than the gee-whiz adventures Kerr builds around Willard Mayer and the Roosevelt circle. What can you do? As the poet John Milton demonstrated several centuries ago in Paradise Lost, devils are inherently more interesting than angels.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Fans of Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy will prize this briskly paced WWII-era spy thriller, which boasts plot twists that will keep readers' heads spinning even after they've put it down. For Willard Mayer, a 35-year-old Harvard-educated empirical philosopher, the roots of pro-Communist realpolitiking run deep. A former Princeton professor who was also a member of the Abwehr, Germany's military intelligence service, and an informer for Russia's notorious Internal Affairs Commissariat, the NKVD, Mayer during the war works as an intelligence analyst for the Office of Strategic Services in Washington-which remains unaware of his past. En route to Tehran, at Roosevelt's insistence, for the Big Three conference in November 1943 aboard the USS Iowa, Mayer believes he's uncovered a plot to assassinate Joseph Stalin. Meanwhile, Hitler and Himmler, eager to avoid engaging the U.S. in a second European front, are trying to figure out how to get around Roosevelt's demand for an unconditional surrender. The ethically compromised Mayer finds himself in the thick of the negotiations even as larger plots are afoot, including one by an SS general to bomb Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill in Tehran. Kerr is as interested in backdoor diplomatic efforts as he is in espionage and assassination, and this highly entertaining spy fiction also explores the moral quandaries of war and realpolitik. Agent, Caradoc King at AP Watt (U.K.). (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The latest novel by the ever versatile Kerr (Dark Matter; The Second Angel) is a tense, complex, and chilling tale of intrigue. It is 1943, and Hitler, as he is losing the war, is desperate to sign a separate peace with either Roosevelt or Stalin, leaving him free to fight the remaining ally. (England was no longer considered important.) When the Nazis discover that a conference among Churchill, Stalin, and FDR will be held in Teheran, Iran, Hitler decides to assassinate them. Stalin especially is the key-with his death, it is hoped that Russia will collapse and Germany will be able to focus on the West. Attending the Teheran conference as a translator (and an OSS agent) for FDR is Willard Mayer, a Princeton philosophy instructor with a checkered past that includes both Nazis and Communists. German and Soviet spies are everywhere, and as Mayer investigates, his companions are murdered and attempts are made on his life. FDR, Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, and other major historical figures are portrayed realistically, and their intrigues are grimly fascinating. With its numerous plot twists, this book may remind readers of Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal. Highly recommended for most fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/05.]-Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's 1943, two years before V-E Day, and everybody knows the Germans are beaten-especially the Germans. So what's to be done about it? Strategies vary, of course. Roosevelt has called for unconditional surrender, a demand that worries the Brits, who feared it might be counterproductive in the way draconian measures often are, cornering the rat, as it were. Second Front, Stalin keeps repeating with Slavic stolidity, while holding his options open. Among the members of the German high command the imperative is to "cut our losses," but Hitler, Himmler, Bormann et al., take differing approaches in support of diverse agendas. With this as background, young Willard Mayer is suddenly summoned to the Oval Office, where he's given an unexpected assignment. Mayer, a former Princeton philosophy professor currently serving as an intelligence analyst with the OSS (precursor to the CIA), has managed to impress FDR with a book of his titled On Being Empirical. As a result, he's plucked from a pool of midlevel colleagues and asked to examine the facts surrounding the massacre of 5,000 Polish soldiers, allegedly by the Soviets. This task, however, is mere prelude. The Big Three-Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin-are about to meet in Teheran, and the president offers Willard an invitation to come along as a kind of assistant to illness-ridden Harry Hopkins. Self-assured Willard-described by one enamored lady as "the cleverest man I know"-takes it all in stride. And in the history-making events that follow, he plays the pivotal role he clearly regards as his due. Again, the protean Kerr (Dark Matter, 2002, etc.) nails his setting and does justice to a large fictitious/for-real cast, but an emotionallyinaccessible protagonist-who sees an affinity between himself and Hitler, inasmuch as both are without "moral values"-is hard to warm to.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.07(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"A scandalous yet plausible scenario... a thriller [in which] the historical dice are well-shaken." —Los Angeles Times

"[Kerr] quantum leaps the limitations of genre fiction. Most thrillers insult your intelligence; Kerr assaults your ignorance." —Esquire

Meet the Author

Philip Kerr is the author of many novels, but perhaps most important are the five featuring Bernie Gunther—A Quiet Flame, The One from the Other, and the Berlin Noir trilogy (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem). He lives in London and Cornwall, England, with his family.

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Hitler's Peace 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1943, the leaders of the Third Reich conclude that they cannot win the war against the allied forces. Hitler wants to negotiate a peace different from the first World War in which Germany is left with dignity; Roosevelt demands unconditional surrender. Various plans offered by the Germans to the American fail to convince the President that the Russians will turn against the allies when the Communists feel the time is right.......................... Philosopher Willard Meyer works for OSS as a German analyst when Roosevelt selects him to scrutinize the Third Reich allegations against the Russians. Once a diehard communist who spied for the Russians against the Germans, Willard is now a super American patriot, who plans to learn the truth about reported German-Russian atrocities. Meanwhile German patriotic General Schellenberg plans to kill The Allies leaders in order to save the hinterland from further destruction in a losing cause................ Philip Kerr returns to World War II Germany, the setting where his stupendous Berlin Noir trilogy took place, with an exciting heart pumping alternate history based on allied and axis leaders making different decisions at key moments. Interestingly General Schellenberg and Willard Meyer share a similar zealousness for their respective country, willing to kill or die if necessary for their homeland. There is plenty of action in this exciting thriller, but the characters, real and fictional, drive the plot into a believable what if scenario told by altering perspectives................. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kerr writes excellent noir--this one a spy novel without Bernie Gunther. The same theme appears, however. The question is how to survive in Nazi Germany while being true to one's moral core. Is it even possible? How many compromises can a man make before betraying his sense of essential right? There is true angst in this book. I highly recommend any Kerr novel, especially the Bernie Gunther series.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
. This is my first book by Phillip Kerr that does not feature Bernie Gunther, and, well, I missed him. Kerr's strength is bringing us back to Nazi Germany and creating a credible field for his characters to act upon. He does that well here, too, but I think just a bit much is going on. The whole plot involving General Schellenberg could have been eliminated and none for the worse. That the book gets a bit preposterous in Teheran (author's spelling) is probably where many readers were disappointed. I know that I was. But, I am not deterred. Bernie is welcome back, and lucky for me, I have not yet gotten to the Berlin Trilogy.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Writing credible alternative history scenarios is tough. Longtime Kerr fans may find Hilter's Peace not quite up to the high standard set by his previous books. It's difficult to explain why without giving away the twists and turns of the plot, and there are plenty of those to keep the pages turning quickly. The central character, OSS functionary Willard Mayer, strains credibilty. The political and ethnic skeletons in his closet are too perfect, he has known too many key figures, he is too often in just the right place at the right time. This Hitler and this Stalin are too subtle and pragmatic. All the right ingredents are here: lavish historical detail, spies, political treachery, famous people, beautiful and randy women, and mysterious murders -- they just don't coalesce into prime Kerr.
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