The solo flight of deputy fuhrer Rudolph Hess into Scotland in May, 1941, was one of the more bizarre events of WW II. Was Hess acting on his own or at Hitler's behest? Tuccille ( Wall Street Blues ) and first-time author Jacobs here speculate that Hess has been deputized by the fuhrer, sent on a mission to convince England to cease hostilities in Europe so that Germany can concentrate its forces against the mutually despised Stalinist Russia. The proposal is presented to Winston Churchill, who, of course, has an agenda of his own. The plot draws in Scottish journalist Philip Renfield, who suspects the British government is concealing a great deal in the Hess affair and who comes perilously close to uncovering the full story. Unfortunately, the authors accord this fertile episode only a superficial treatment, failing to provide even a rudimentary political or military context. Historical characters spout mere rhetoric, and the work remains shallow and unsatisfying. (Feb.)
Scottish newspaper reporter Philip Renfield, covering a 1941 crash-landing of a German plane in Scotland, soon discovers that the pilot is none other than Rudolph Hess. The British hide Hess in an old mental hospital in Wales, but Renfield tracks him down, determined to get his story. Hopelessly caught up in the intrigue that develops between Hess and his British captors, Renfield struggles against impossible odds to get a story that will never see print in wartime Britain. Whatever the real Rudolph Hess had in mind when he flew to Britain in 1941, it must have been far more exciting than this slow- moving, fictionalized version loaded with wooden characters and boring dialog. Not recommended.-- Brian Alley, Sangamon State Univ. Lib., Springfield, Ill.
Jerome Tuccille is the author of more than twenty books covering a wide range of topics; his biographies include Alan Shrugged: Alan Greenspan, the World's Most Powerful Banker; Rupert Murdoch; and Trump. Tuccille is a vice president of T. Rowe Price Investment Services, and has taught at the New School of Social Research in New York City.