"Dobbs skillfully tells this fascinating and timely story." The Washington Post
"One of the greatest stories of our time. Michael Dobbs' superb research and exceptional writing add to the drama." Providence Journal
"Hair-raising. . . . Intricately crafted. . . . A first-rate thriller . . . that is much more exciting for being true, Saboteurs is well worth the price of admission and a sight better than many books about the war." Winston-Salem Journal
"Dobbs seasons his story with just the right a mount of wryness, letting the farce play out and keeping the details tidy. . . . An entertaining and useful book."San Jose Mercury News
“Saboteurs is a riveting detective story within an engrossing war story. Meticulously researched and elegantly written, this book is that wonderfully rare thing: a first-rate work of history that is impossible to put down.” Rick Atkinson, author of An Army at Dawn
“Their story has been told before, but never so fascinatingly as by Dobbs.” Chicago Sun-Times
"Revealing. . . . Dobbs delves, incisively, into the mindset of the different participants, from the saboteurs, with their conflicting back stories, agendas and loyalties, to midlevel FBI operatives, to the legal minds summoned to work the cases. . . . Dobbs fully evokes the relentless pace familiar to readers of traditional thrillers." The Houston Chronicle
"Fascinating. . . . Must-reading for true crime and World War II enthusiasts. Saboteurs is a compelling story that is meticulously researched and highly recommended." Tucson Citizen
"Dobbs expertly deploys the wealth of detail he has unearthed to bring this crew to life. . . . [He] has a knack for historical detective work. . . . Dobbs is the first to tell the full story of a riveting episode that casts some interesting shadows on our current moment." Commentary Magazine
In Saboteurs, Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs skillfully tells the fascinating and timely story of that episode, Operation Pastorius. John Lehman
The first German sabotage mission to reach the shores of the U.S. during WWII is the subject of Washington Post correspondent Dobbs's follow-up to Madeleine Albright: A Twentieth Century Odyssey and Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. The early background chapters concerning the recruitment and training of the German agents can be slow going, but once the story reaches the open seas, the landing of the agents on the shores of Long Island and Florida, and their movements within the U.S., it will captivate readers for the remainder of the book. The detailed account of the summer 1942 landing of the eight German saboteurs, all with prewar experience in the U.S., is engrossing, as is their stalking by the FBI with the help of several other government agencies (livened up with extensive reconstructed dialogue that leans on declassified material). The personalities and careers of the eight are revealed in some detail, including those of two American citizens, as is the fate of the two surviving members. The interagency jealousies that plagued the case throughout the pursuit and trial of the agents add an additional dimension to what would otherwise be a simple spy story. After one of their number, American George J. Dasch, finally gets cold feet and turns the group in, the account of the military trial and the parts played by the Justice Department, President Roosevelt and the Supreme Court become as fascinating as the main story. The legal aspects of the case, clearly and simply explained, are echoed today, since the saboteurs' trial by a military tribunal, rather than a civil court, is a precedent for the impending trial of accused terrorists held at the prison in Guantanamo, Cuba. Easy going and compelling, this title should find favor beyond the WWII niche. (Feb. 10) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A reporter for the Washington Post, Dobbs (Madeleine Albright: A Twentieth Century Odyssey) draws on "a treasure trove" of 40 boxes of FBI records to document the story of eight Nazi saboteurs, deposited by U-boats on Long Island and on the coast of northern Florida in June 1942. Operation Pastorius, the elaborately planned two-year operation targeting American defense-related industries, was discovered and thwarted only because two of the invaders-Ernst Burger and George Dasch-sabotaged their own mission. Their recantation enabled the FBI and Hoover to turn the failed mission into what commentator Walter Winchell called "the most exciting achievement yet of John Edgar Hoover's G-men." Of particular interest to current readers is Dobbs's closing speculation that "the most obvious flaw" in the Nazi operation was "the lack of ideological commitment and cohesion among its principal protagonists"-unlike the commitment exhibited by the 9/11 hijackers. Dobbs suggests that until Osama bin Laden's "myth" of militant Islamic fundamentalism is discredited, "it will remain a rallying point for the resentful and the deprived." A real-life wartime thriller recommended for all libraries with an interest in World War II. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/03.]-Robert C. Jones, formerly with Central Missouri State Univ., Warrensburg Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A suspenseful, well-rendered tale from the forgotten moments of WWII file, recounting a brilliant-but fortunately foiled-Nazi plan to bring mayhem to America's shores. That plan seemed, if not quite a no-brainer, less risky than many of the possibilities that the Abwehr, or German military intelligence, served up once America entered the war. Writes Washington Post reporter Dobbs (Madeleine Albright, 1999, etc.), it entailed inserting German-American agents like Walter Kappe, the former propaganda head of the German-American Bund, "who came back to the Fatherland prior to the outbreak of World War II full of enthusiasm for the New Germany," into backwaters where they could commit acts of sabotage on industrial and transportation targets while blending in to the populace. Nine agents made it through Admiral Wilhelm Canaris's training regime; their boss, who as early as 1942 was having his doubts about Hitler, regarded them as expendable, remarking to a lieutenant who expressed doubts that the sabotage operation could ever work, "Well, we will lose good Nazis then." The agents made their way to America by U-boat, some landing smack in the middle of a Coast Guard patrol; they escaped, as did their sub, which had briefly run aground, thanks mostly to the ineptitude of their surprised pursuers. What kept the Nazi spies from fulfilling their mission was the presence among them of two disaffected Germans who, each for his own reason, worked with the FBI to track down the bad guys in what the press later described as "the greatest manhunt in American history." Dobbs's tale has a timely aspect, for the German agents-like the suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives now in federal custody-weretried by a military commission and executed. Notes Dobbs, "One of the lessons of the saboteur affair is that it is very difficult to fight a war and respect legal niceties at the same time." Of great interest to true-crime and WWII buffs. First printing of 50,000. Agent: Raphael Sagalyn/Sagalyn Literary Agency