The Meinertzhagen Mystery: The Life and Legend of a Colossal Fraud [NOOK Book]

Overview

Tall, handsome, charming Col. Richard Meinertzhagen (1878û1967) was an acclaimed British war hero, a secret agent, and a dean of international ornithology. His exploits inspired three biographies, movies have been based on his life, and a square in Jerusalem is dedicated to his memory. Meinertzhagen was trusted by Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, T. E. Lawrence, Elspeth Huxley, and a great many others.

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The Meinertzhagen Mystery: The Life and Legend of a Colossal Fraud

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Overview

Tall, handsome, charming Col. Richard Meinertzhagen (1878û1967) was an acclaimed British war hero, a secret agent, and a dean of international ornithology. His exploits inspired three biographies, movies have been based on his life, and a square in Jerusalem is dedicated to his memory. Meinertzhagen was trusted by Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, T. E. Lawrence, Elspeth Huxley, and a great many others.

He bamboozled them all. Meinertzhagen was a fraud. Many of the adventures recorded in his celebrated diaries were imaginary, including a meeting with Hitler while he had a loaded pistol in his pocket, an attempt to rescue the Russian royal family in 1918, and a shoot-out with Arabs in Haifa when he was seventy years old. True, he was a key player in Middle Eastern events after World War I, and during the 1930s he represented Zionism's interests in negotiations with Germany. But he also set up Nazi front organizations in England, committed a half-century of major and costly scientific fraud, and -- oddly -- may have been innocent of many killings to which he confessed (e.g., the murder of his own polo groom -- a crime of which he cheerfully boasted, although the evidence suggests it never occurred at all). Further, he may have been guilty of at least one homicide of which he professed innocence.

A compelling read about a flamboyant rogue, The Meinertzhagen Mystery shows how recorded history reflects not what happened, but what we believe happened.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…a fascinating book…”

". . . .this readable biography made me wish I could have met Meinertzhagen in his cantankerous prime and stored my own memories."

"Brian Garfield's patient detective work finally slots Richard Meinertzhagen's mug-shot in the grandiose section of the British rogues' gallery. . . ."

". . . .a compelling story about a flambuoyant rogue, and this book, by its example, cautions us that recorded history sometimes reflects not what actually happened, but what we are told happened."

“Colossal—the term is no exaggeration for the magnitude of Meinertzhagen’s frauds. Garfield has sifted through myriads of files and fallacies, and now, in a book I could not put down, demolishes the exploits that Meinertzhagen self-promoted into the history books.”

“Brian Garfield has done a marvelous job of unraveling the skein of lies, fakes, and fictions woven by one of the greatest scientific frauds of the twentieth century. He has created a nonfiction version of Thomas Mann’s Felix Krull—a portrait of a self-invented man. Garfield also offers a unique point of view on many historic events of the twentieth century, while at the same time inviting the reader to wonder how much of what we’ve read about these events is true. All in all it’s an astonishing read.”

"Shredding his way through both Meinertzhagen's four-million-word diary and the layers of sensational anecdote that grew up around him, Mr. Garfield exposes countless self-flattering inflations, from Meinertzhagen's claim to own Darwin's pipe to his boasts of having casually killed any number of men with his bare hands...Mr. Garfield manages both to prosecute Meinertzhagen convincingly and, by means of his lively prose, to keep us engaged."

"A fascinating, well documented tour de force through the back streets of British imperial history during the first half of the twentieth century. In his methodical search for the elusive and authentic character of Richard Meinertzhagen hidden behind the public persona, Brian Garfield has produced a rare, intimate, and sobering picture of those who ruled the ‘empire on which the sun never sets’ from its peak to its demise."

PRAISE FOR OTHER BOOKS BY BRIAN GARFIELD:

"Garfield is one of the best. Anyone settling down with a Garfield book is in for a good time."

"A scintillating, talented writer."

"Engrossing and exciting . . . I couldn't put it down."

"This might well be required reading. It's edge of the chair all the way. . . . Wholly fascinating and thought-provoking."

Jay Shapiro

"A fascinating, well documented tour de force through the back streets of British imperial history during the first half of the twentieth century. In his methodical search for the elusive and authentic character of Richard Meinertzhagen hidden behind the public persona, Brian Garfield has produced a rare, intimate, and sobering picture of those who ruled the ‘empire on which the sun never sets’ from its peak to its demise."—Jay Shapiro, Israel National Radio
New York Times

PRAISE FOR OTHER BOOKS BY BRIAN GARFIELD:

"Garfield is one of the best. Anyone settling down with a Garfield book is in for a good time."—New York Times

Newsday

"A scintillating, talented writer."—Newsday (reviewing Death Wish)
Robert Ludlum

"Engrossing and exciting . . . I couldn't put it down."—Robert Ludlum (commenting on Recoil)
Booklist

"This might well be required reading. It's edge of the chair all the way. . . . Wholly fascinating and thought-provoking."—Booklist (reviewing Death Sentence)
scienceblogs.com

"A compelling story about a flambuoyant rogue, and this book, by its example, cautions us that recorded history sometimes reflects not what actually happened, but what we are told happened."—scienceblogs.com
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597974479
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/31/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Brian Garfield is the author of novels that have been made into Hollywood movies (including Hopscotch and Death Wish), a former president of the Mystery Writers of America, and the author of the nonfiction work, The Thousand-Mile War: Alaska and the Aleutians in World War II. He lives in Studio City, California.
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Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Acknowledgments     ix
Legend     1
Haversack     14
Nandi     38
Syce     69
Tanga     81
Nairobi     102
Zion     120
Adrift     134
Family     159
Espionage     174
Birds     193
Warfare     211
Kensington     226
Glossary     248
Notes     249
Selected Bibliography     331
Index     343
About the Author     353
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