Return to the Reich: A Holocaust Refugee’s Secret Mission To Defeat the Nazis

Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2019. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9781328528537. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781328529909. HIST
Ostracized from his country for being a Jew, young Frederick Mayer wants only one thing when war is declared on Germany: retribution. Following the life of the American refugee today known as Freddy, this piece of investigative journalism from Lichtblau (The Nazis Next Door) brings the story of Freddy’s pursuits with the American OSS to light, and shows how one man’s determination and bravado brought a swift end to the war in the Nazi stronghold of Tyrol, where the Allies were sure they would encounter Hitler’s last stand in the rumored Alpine fortress. From parachuting onto an Austrian glacier to impersonating a Nazi officer after the OSS shot down the idea, the complete history of the mission reads like an Ian Fleming novel. The larger-than-life antics of the Gulliver unit of Hans, Franz, and Freddy in finding Austrian resisters in a bastion of Nazi support are chronicled through interviews, archives, military documents, and personal correspondence across Europe and America.
VERDICT An extremely accessible read, this well-researched book will appeal to fans of espionage tales, World War II history, biographies, as well as young adult audiences.

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