In Time Of War

Overview

It’s a true story that reads like gripping fiction: in June 1942, eight German terrorists landed by submarine on the shores of Long Island and Florida with a mission to blow up major buildings and railroad hubs throughout the United States. In Time of War tells the dramatic story of how they were ultimately betrayed by one of their own, tried by a special military tribunal appointed by FDR, and zealously defended by an army colonel. Six of the eight were executed. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently upheld the ...

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Overview

It’s a true story that reads like gripping fiction: in June 1942, eight German terrorists landed by submarine on the shores of Long Island and Florida with a mission to blow up major buildings and railroad hubs throughout the United States. In Time of War tells the dramatic story of how they were ultimately betrayed by one of their own, tried by a special military tribunal appointed by FDR, and zealously defended by an army colonel. Six of the eight were executed. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently upheld the president’s power to order the military trial that passed the death sentences.

More than sixty years later, President George W. Bush, in the wake of the deadly 9/11 terrorist attacks, cited Roosevelt’s act as precedent for imprisoning over six hundred suspected “enemy combatants” in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and indefinitely detaining U.S. citizens suspected of terrorist activities. In a riveting account of this remarkable episode in America’s history (much of it based on documents never before available), O’Donnell, one of the country’s leading trial lawyers, illustrates the parallels between then and now, offering a cautionary tale of the danger of unchecked executive power in a time of crisis.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Nazi saboteur case is a blot on our law, and is being used by the Bush administration now to defend its attacks on civil liberties." —Anthony Lewis

"O’Donnell is a master storyteller who vividly brings to life the trying times of World War II and a nation gripped by fear. " —Johnnie Cochran

"Reads like a spy novel, only it’s all true." —David Cole, author of Enemy Aliens

Publishers Weekly
In 1942, Nazi U-boats landed eight German-Americans with sabotage gear on the U.S. coast. Almost immediately, their leader phoned the FBI to turn everyone in. Traditionally, historians treat this episode as WWII comic relief. Despite the misleading title, O'Donnell treats it not as terrorism but as a sad example of national hysteria trumping justice-one with real relevance today. The arrests made headlines, producing universal outrage and cries for revenge. Anxious to gratify public clamor, President Roosevelt ordered a secret trial by a military commission operating only under the "laws of war." After three weeks of silence, a bulletin announced the execution of six defendants and long prison terms for two. Public opinion enthusiastically approved. The author, a lawyer, agrees with most legal scholars that Roosevelt's order and the trial were a disgrace. But current Bush administration officials consider FDR's handling of the saboteurs a precedent. O'Donnell devotes his final 70 pages to refuting this, quoting liberally from court transcripts of appeals filed by the prisoners. His account of the German saboteurs is also dense with legal maneuvering and now-available trial records. Readers expecting wartime fireworks will be disappointed; this book is a passionate defense of the Bill of Rights. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In June 1942, eight Nazi agents landed via submarine along the shores of Long Island and Florida but were quickly captured. President Roosevelt ordered a secret military tribunal to try them, and six were executed, even though no actual attacks had been carried out. Attorney O'Donnell (Fatal Subtraction: The Inside Story of Buchwald vs. Paramount) examines the complex legal decisions and far-reaching ramifications surrounding this incident. In addition, he attacks the Bush administration for using this incident to justify holding people without trial or effective representation during our current war on terror. The FBI does not come off well in O'Donnell's account, owing in large part to J. Edgar Hoover's hunger for positive publicity even as the FBI blundered through the crisis. More law-oriented than Michael Dobbs's Saboteurs: The Nazi Raid on America, this book instead recalls Louis Fischer's Nazi Saboteurs on Trial: A Military Tribunal and American Law but offers more details about the frustrated defense attorney, army colonel Kenneth C. Royall. This book addresses an important and emotional national issue, and if we cannot even debate it, then the Constitution is dead. Strongly recommended. (Index and photos not seen.)-Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565849587
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Pages: 444
  • Sales rank: 1,297,274
  • Product dimensions: 1.19 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Pierce O’Donnell has been named one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal. He is the author of In Time of War: Hitler’s Terrorist Attack on America (The New Press) and a co-author, with Dennis McDougal, of the bestselling Fatal Subtraction. He lives in Montecito, California.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2005

    NAZI SPYS IN AMERICA

    THIS IS A VERY EXCITING BOOK! IT IS ONE OF THE BEST SPY STORYS THAT I THINK I HAVE EVER READ AND YET IT IS ONE THAT YOU DONT HEAR TOO MUCH ABOUT ANY MORE.HITLER SENDS A GROUP OF SPECIALLY TRAINED GERMAN SPYS THAT LAND ON AMERICAN SHORES ( GOT THERE BY GERMAN U-BOAT SUB)THIS GREAT ARTHUR HAS RESEARCHED ALL AREAS THE SPYS, THE FBI, THE AMERICAN AND NAZI GOVERMENT AND WHAT THE SPYS ARE LIKE IN AMERICA AND HOW THERE ARE CAUGHT. HOPE YOU WILL GET THIS BOOK FOR A FRIEND AND OR FAMILY MEMBER CAUSE IT WOULD SURE MAKE A GREAT GIFT.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2005

    Compulsively readable thriller and it's all true

    In Time of War is a riveting tale of Nazi saboteurs who came to American in the summer of 1942, were captured, tried in secret, and six were executed. O'Donnell is a terrific storyteller whose celebrated courtroom talents are brought to bear in making the trial of the Nazis by a seven American generals (and the inevitable death sentence) vividly come to life. O'Donnell makes legal and constiutional issues easily understandable for a nonlawyer. This is a great summer read--as well as a warning about how America is handling the present-day war on terror.

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