cover image Ten Days to Destiny: The Secret Story of the Hess Peace Initative

Ten Days to Destiny: The Secret Story of the Hess Peace Initative

John Costello. William Morrow & Company, $23 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-08662-6

On May 10, 1941, in one of WW II's most bizarre episodes, Rudolph Hess, the deputy fuhrer of Germany, parachuted onto Scottish soil. Costello ( I Was There ) uses recently declassified material to answer 50 years of speculation about the true purpose of Hess's mission. And his book offers some astonishing revelations. Among them: prominent members of Britain's ruling establishment (led by foreign secretary Lord Halifax) tried to negotiate a compromise peace with Hitler at the time of the fall of France in 1940; prime minister Churchill had to bluff and bully his war cabinet into rejecting Hitler's tempting peace overtures; the fuhrer's Halt Order of May 23, 1940, was a stratagem to persuade the British government to accept a deal. As to the Hess mission, the record now shows that the deputy fuhrer brought not only an authoritative peace proposal but an invitation from Hitler to support Germany's imminent crusade against the Soviet Union. Costello's riveting account leaves little doubt that, but for Churchill, WW II would have ended in June 1940, setting global history on a different and more sinister course. (July)