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A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich

Narrated by: Michael Prichard
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
4 out of 5 stars (106 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A work of remarkable scholarship that moves with the swift pace of a John le Carre thriller, A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich is a chilling addition to the literature of espionage. In 1943, a young official named Fritz Kolbe from the German foreign ministry arranged to meet with Allen Dulles, then an OSS officer in Switzerland and later the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Kolbe had decided to betray his country. Over the next two years, Kolbe passed on countless valuable documents about German war efforts by tying the pages to his thigh and praying to avoid customs searches. He described the location of munitions factories and relayed diplomatic reports on Germany's intelligence operations and relations with other Axis nations like Romania and nominally neutral countries like Spain.

Viewed by many Germans as a traitor, he was erased from the history books and, after Hitler's fall, his diplomatic career came to an end. Drawing on recently declassified materials at the National Archives in Washington and Kolbe's personal archives, Lucas Delattre has written an extraordinary tale of an ordinary man who knew the most valuable service he could provide his country was to betray it.

©2003 Editions Denoel (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Smoothly chronicles the impressive wartime activities, and woeful postwar treatment, of a German foreign ministry official." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

100% very good

I liked everything about this book: The topic, the prose, the reader. One more instance of a hero coming from the least expected place, and how unfairly things can turn out for those who don't deserve it.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, most of all because it's true.

This is not really a novel, but rather a true story told in a documentary, third person form. Some may think it's a bit dry, and the narrartor tells the story kinda like a documentary voice over. Still, if you can visualize the scenes and the characters, it is quite engaging. While you'll want to pay attention - to fight the tendency to doze off due to the monotonous narration - you can't help but come away with a sharper insight as to the horror of the Third Reich, the terror the German people endured from the bombing and their own leadership, and the unfair way in which life can turn. Also, Fritz is not an especially likeable fellow as told here. If you enjoy WW II stories, you'll probably like this.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

The book reads more like a diary than a work of literature. It seemed to be a recitation of events in a rather matter of fact style. It was somewhat interesting, but not really entertaining.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Ok

This wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it might be. It was VERY detailed, which I didn't mind, but was definitely from the documentary perspective when I was hoping it might be a little more of a "story" perspective.

The reader was good.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shaun
  • Caboolture, Australia
  • 09-22-15

Epic story

Recommended to any history particularly WWII buffs. Fascinating.
Throws a light on the internal tensions in NAZI Germany.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing true spy intrigue.

This amazing true wartime spy story not only rivets you to the next piece of information. It also wraps up in the end how long after the war it is taking Germany to come to terms, in a healthy way, with it's NAZI past.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Dull

I bought this years ago, forgot about it, then finally gave it a listen... and boy, what a mediocre book. The big issue with this book is that there's no story - it just sort of tells some facts, speculates a bit, and then tells more facts. That is fine when there is a story in those facts, but this looks like an author getting ahold of some notes and then trying to build a book around it. It's just dull as there isn't much going on most of the time. While I do appreciate the author not making stuff up, the only thing worse than a boring history book is one that is also fake, I don't think the author did much with the material he got. Anyways if you're going to write a spy book it really needs to be a narrative history - otherwise they end up very dull, like this one.

The reader is a good professional read, no issue there.

Overall this book is just bland - and because so little happens I'm not sure what could have been added to the story to make it more interesting. I love history and love WW2 so this should have been a no-brainer. But it turned out to just be, well, boring.