Cracking the Nazi Code: The Untold Story of Agent A12 and the Solving of the Holocaust Code

Pegasus. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781639366316. $29.95. HIST
Bell (philosophy, Univ. of New Brunswick) has penned a remarkable account of the life of Winthrop Bell (1884–1965), a spy also known as A12 who uncovered the emerging Nazi conspiracy in 1919 Berlin from a careful reading of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. (The subject and the author are not related.) A12 worked for the Canadian and British governments, and this book indicates that he tried to warn Britain of the rise of Nazism and general instability in Germany. The book vividly documents the spy’s efforts to alert the British, of Nazi plans. Instead, the report was hidden away until 1939. That year, Bell again used his espionage expertise to help the British thwart the Nazis. Utilizing primary source material from Europe and Canada and reviewing documents from Bell’s archives, the author writes a gripping account of the spy, who also was an academic at Harvard and McGill.
VERDICT An extraordinary story of one man’s efforts to stop the Nazi regime. Best for those who enjoy history, biography, and tales of espionage.
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