Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany

Richard Lucas, Author
Richard Lucas, Casemate (Casemate, dist.), $29.95 (307p) ISBN 978-1-935149-43-9
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 10/01/2010
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Shortwave radio enthusiast Lucas carefully chronicles the life of Mildred Gillars, known to American GIs during WWII as "Axis Sally," in this first full-length biography of the infamous radio propagandist for Nazi Germany. With the aid of declassified federal documents and a glut of newspaper coverage after the war, Lucas follows Gillars from her Ohio upbringing to a failed New York acting career to her transformation into the Axis Sally under the tutelage of her married German lover. Known for a voice that oozed "like honey out of a big wooden spoon," Gillars was mythologized by GIs as the personification of Nazi propaganda. In her prolific broadcasts she interviewed POWs, taunted American soldiers, and revealed secret locations of American troops. She was ultimately tried for treason, served a 12-year prison sentence, and spent the rest of her long life on parole. In this fascinating, well-researched account, Lucas attempts to isolate the people and events that may have led Gillars to assume her moniker, telling a story "of poverty and hunger." Gillars was "a woman who, like the F├╝hrer she served, wished to accomplish great artistic feats but instead wandered into history and infamy." Photos. (Oct.)
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