Tall, handsome, charming Col. Richard Meinertzhagen (1878-1967) 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.
"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." - The Wall Street Journal "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." - Pamela C. Rasmussen, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Zoology, Michigan State University "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." - John Seabrook, New Yorker staff writer and author of Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, the Marketing of Culture "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." - The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, February 10-11, 2007 "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"
|Selected Bibliography||p. 331|
|About the Author||p. 353|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 386
Published: 1st February 2008
Publisher: Potomac Books Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.0 x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.55