A SPY AT THE HEART OF THE THIRD REICH: The Extraordinary Story of Fritz Kolbe, America's Most Important Spy in World War II

Lucas Delattre, Author, George Holoch, Translator
Lucas Delattre, Author, George Holoch, Translator . Atlantic Monthly $24 (308p) ISBN 978-0-87113-879-8
Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-3147-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-5147-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-0147-4
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-0-8021-4231-3
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This modest but useful book is the first full-scale biography of Kolbe, one of the major Allied agents in Nazi Germany. A junior official at Hitler's Foreign Ministry, he had access to thousands of messages conveying valuable information about German weapons, tactics, plans and morale. As a diplomatic courier to the German embassy in Switzerland, he was able to travel freely, and regularly deliver his material to Allen Dulles, head of the OSS office in Switzerland. Dulles had to fight the opposition of the British to American espionage efforts and the skepticism of his own superiors, but eventually saw to it that Kolbe's material was put to use. Delattre paints a vivid portrait of Kolbe, a romantic and a stubborn fitness buff, who seems to have become an agent simply because he was a decent man confronting indecency. A longtime German correspondent for Le Monde, Delattre has supplemented his firsthand experience with extensive research and is terrific on conditions in Germany during the war. Kolbe survived the war but did not prosper in the peace, when he was regarded as a traitor in Germany. (Feb.)

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