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Journalist and WWII-veteran Downs has spent the last 50 years investigating the mysterious circumstances of the disappearance of big band leader Glenn Miller as his plane flew over the English Channel in 1944. Downs's intriguing if far-fetched look at Miller's final days presents a radical argument: Miller, an army major, was a U.S. spy who died while attempting to deliver a secret message from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who was requesting a group of German generals to join a top-secret operation to disrupt Hitler's war plans. Using his access to secret documents before and after the war ended, Downs makes a strong argument that Miller was captured in France by Nazi spies and tortured and killed during an unsuccessful interrogation in Paris to get him to reveal information about the operation. Downs interviews a number of U.S. troops who saw Miller's dead body dumped outside a Parisian brothel, and he argues that the U.S. Army High Command created the fake story of Miller's disappearance to keep the Nazis from claiming that they had broken Miller's spirit. While Downs's research has some merit, his breathlessly written suppositions sometimes read like the worst JFK assassination books. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.