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on October 19, 2003
There are not many German books about Rudolf Hess. By contrast, the book list presented in „Double Standards" gives us a dozen British or US titles dealing specifically with the man and many more in which Hess plays a part. Is this due only to the well-known British love of mystery stories, or are there other reasons for the seemingly constant preoccupation with this particular subject?
In 1939, Britain and France were major imperial powers, the USA were still digging their way out of a home-made depression, Germany was trying to reconsolidate herself at the expense of some of her neighbours, and the Soviet Union loomed in the background. A mere six years later, the erstwhile empires were gone or nearly so, Germany was devastated materially, politically, and spiritually, but the Soviet Union had advanced its sway some 500 miles to the west, and for all intents and purposes the USA occupied the rest of Europe.
This was not at all the situation Britain had envisioned when she declared war on Germany after the German invasion of Poland, but, if we are to believe the authors of this book, it corresponded very closely to a picture which Rudolf Hess, after his daring and tragically unsuccessful flight to Scotland, repeatedly outlined to his captors as a possibility to be avoided at all costs. Even if the details of the proposals Hess had taken along on his flight are still locked away or lost forever, this outline matches perfectly the German assessment of the political situation of the day. Churchill, by himself, without even consulting his cabinet, refused to accept such arguments and brushed aside whatever Hess had proposed.
The question which is looming large behind the 500 pages of this well-researched book (and also behind the many others written on this subject) is why Churchill was so adamant in his negative attitude, whether he was aware of the possibly horrible consequences of his position, and to what extent he condoned the scenario that he was conjuring up. These are questions of political morality and in a way it would seem that the incessant preoccupation of British authors with our subject reflects the unease they are feeling with respect to major and in the end catastrophic decisions taken in their name and over their heads by less than a handful of people in Whitehall.
The authors of „Double Standards" devote several pages to a discussion of the tragedies on all sides that could have been avoided if Hess' mission had been a success. With a marvellously tongue-in-cheek attitude they also consider, side by side, the kind of Europe that, in 1941, would have resulted from a reasonable peace, and the political structure we see emerging today in the same geographical area, finding little to choose between the two.
Such, then, is the backdrop against which the scenes of this tragedy are played out. Fate has it that once the two mighty monarchies confront each other across the perilous narrow ocean, there ensues an inexorable march to doom despite the courageous efforts of many noble souls on either side; there is a climax at which point the scales could have been tipped either way, there is the terrible act where the battle's lost and won, and there is the pitiful finale, with murders most foul and ghosts that will not go away.
In their description of Rudolf Hess, the four authors, like so many captains, bear him to centre stage and seem to say that, had he been put on, he would have proved most royal. With this regard it matters but little whether his final resting place is at Wunsiedel, next to his parents, or in Scottish soil, next to the poor fellows who may have crashed with him on Eagles Rock.
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on November 1, 2015
im still reading it and enjoying it very much.if your a WW 2 buff , into the hierarchy of the Nazi regime & the real Rudolph Hess then this will make you happy.lots of info i never heard before and ive read everything on the whole history of the 1rst and 2nd wars.
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on November 17, 2008
Imagine that - sometime in 2002 - Vice President Cheney flew to the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan with the intent to open direct negotiations with Usama bin Laden to end the conflict between the US and al Qaeda. Then imagine that - instead of trumpeting the news around the world - UBL only kept Cheney incommunicado for years.

Seems improbable, doesn't it?

Well, that is exactly what happened in May of 1941. Rudolph Hess - at the time Adolph Hitler's notional right-hand man who carried the title Deputy Fuehrer - flew to the United Kingdom, bailing out over Scotland. After his almost immediate apprehension, he acted and made statements seeming to imply that he was expected by one or more members of Scottish nobility. Within hours of his arrival Hess was locked away from public view and nothing more was known until he appeared as a defendant at the initial war crimes trials in Nuremburg, Germany. There, he appeared to be mentally unstable, at times alternating between near-catatonia, rambling incoherency and acute mental clarity. Sentenced to life imprisonment, Hess was - at the time of his death - the only remaining detainee. After his death - which was ruled a suicide - the prison where he was held was demolished and the land diverted to other uses. A rather shocking action in light of the fact that the Fuehrerbunker - admittedly underground but still capable of access - and Gestapo headquarters - now a memorial and visitation site - remained.

"So", as we Americans say. "What's up?"

The authors contend the following:

1. There was a large and active "peace-party" in the UK before and during World War Two that sought, first, to avoid was with Germany and, having failed at that, sought to end the war. Key to this was commonalities between Germany and the UK in the areas of racial-cultural superiority, anti-Semitism and anti-communism. This peace-party included many of the upper class and nobility, possibly even into the upper reaches of the Royal Family.

2. There was active and ongoing communication between "like-minded" individuals in both countries that included members of the government (though not Winston Churchill).

3. Hess's flight was planned by both sides to open negotiations for a cessation of fighting but was kept at arm's length via intermediaries so that both sides would be able to evoke plausible denial.

4. The plan went awry and Hess fell into the hands of Churchill, who was able to use his captive as a mallet to crush the "peace-party" and any mention of supposed purpose for Hess; mission. Instead, both sides relegated Hess to nut-case status.

5. In order to assure Hess never spoke the truth, he was either kept drugged for the next 50 odd years or a fake Hess was created - the real one having died in a plane crash that killed a member of the Royal family while they wer on the way to Sweden to negotiate a peace treaty - who also was prevented from speaking. In the end, one or the other was killed by the Brits over fears te truth might come out upon his release - rumored to be about to happen - from Spandau prison.

`Double Standards' is a very high quality conspiracy theory story that contains much valid and documented proof. There were elements in the UK that would have preferred no war with Germany that did have power. In fact, there are indications that in the weeks immediately after Dunkirk, efforts were underway to depose Churchill and replace him with a PM more amenable to negotiations. It's pretty clear from this book and others on the topic that Hess knew whom he wanted to meet and certainly believed/assumed they would be open to the subject. And, there are many other more-or-less verifiable facts that - when woven into the storyline - make it all seem plausible, even likely.

Until you get to Prisoner Number Seven - Hess' designation at the Nuremburg Trial and during his incarceration at Spandau Prison - being killed after 50 years to keep the truth hidden. Why would those in power - then and now - risk the story coming out by keeping this man - the real Hess or the doppelganger - alive when his death at an earlier point in time could have been arranged so easily?

It calls the whole story into question and leaves it as little more than a better written and referenced version of stories like Roswell, the Kennedy assassination or FDR knowing about Pearl Harbor in advance. As with those "events," it assertions that errors in documentation are not errors of omission, but rather signs of deliberate falsification that cause this reviewer to question what is being presented. To say that each and every discrepancy in various source materials were deliberate and not the result of haste, distraction or simple mis-statement is absurb. To - near the end of the book - imply that the faux-Hess was one of the first to be a victim of mind-control pharmaceuticals in a string that lead eventually to the MKULTRA program only adds to questions about the purpose of this book being scholarly inquiiry or muckraking for profit.
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on December 18, 2012
The challenges faced by Churchill during this period when the media of the day presented a fully backed Churchill. The level with influential aristocracy, Royals and members of the Government towards a peace process with Nazi Germany.
Cover-ups or restricting reports on mysteries surronding Hess the Duke of Kent Crash and "The suicide ????????of Hess in Spandau"
A book that should be made into a movie just as was done for "Valkerie"
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on September 23, 2002
It remains an intriguing fact: the trip of Rudolf Hess to England. There were no indications that he was mad (at least not madder than the other nazi leaders) and all of a sudden he decides to fly to England to start the peace negotiations...
The authors write a very stout book to investigate what happened or what could have happened. And that is my major problem with the book: on the basis of a number of very flimsy clues they draw far-reaching conclusions which they then present as the only possible truth in the rest of the book. They then use those conclusions as the basis for even more far-fetched conclusions etc.
I also think that there is more to the flight of Hess than the ravings of a lunatic, but this book is a very easy way to come with a fantastic story. And the major conclusion (the person in Spandau prison was a double of the real Rudolf Hess who died in WW 2) is not supported by the evidence presented in this book.
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on April 4, 2015
Fascinating history of traitorous Tories: Halifax, Samuel Hoare, RAB Butler, John Simon and Duke of Hamilton who attempted to cut a "peace" deal with hitler and the nazis in 1941 behind PM Winston Churchill's back. Presented by authors who are explicitly anti-Churchill and pro-hitler, who believe fighting nazis/WW2 was wrong. The actions of Halifax, Samuel Hoare, RAB Butler, John Simon, who all should have been hung for treason, has until this book, has been generally suppressed. For this alone the authors warrant praise.
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on February 2, 2015
very informative and iinteresting
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on February 6, 2013
This book is a fantastic WW2 whodunnit which reveals a lot of information regarding Hess' mission for the first time. The first part of the theory, on why Hess flew to Scotland, is convincing. Perhaps linking the Duke's later plane crash with the whole episode is a bit of a stretch, but even so, it is not outlandish and presented the way it is, with plenty of convincing circumstantial evidence, quite believable. Highly recommended as both historically interesting as well as an absorbing read I got through in a few days.
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on August 22, 2013
Throughout this fanciful work of fiction, or at least pseudohistory, the authors repeatedly and consistently misuse the expression "begging the question," evidently presuming this means "raising a question." Their ignorance is ironic, as their book begs the question, in its literal meaning of a logical fallacy, at virtually every turn.

The book purports to be a rehash of the various crazy conspiracy theories which surround the flight of Rudolf Hess to Scotland in 1941, including some new ones: (believe it or not) Hess was lured by a MI6 plot, the flight was facilitated by the active participation of the RAF and home defenses, secret broadcasting stations in Scotland helped Hess navigate, the Duke of Hamilton was part of the plot and was far more involved with Hess than he claimed to be, and the Duke of Kent was taking Hess to Sweden when their plane crashed, killing them both. Strangely enough, the book rather sanely disagrees with the faulty reasoning in Hugh Thomas's "The Murder of Rudolf Hess," while committing the same fallacious reasoning and scholastic dishonesty. In fact, none of the authors' theories is backed up with a shred of actual evidence.

The authors are not serious historians. Their self-proclaimed credentials prove they are actually conspiracy theory nuts, having written in the past on cult and occult themes including claiming that the "shroud of Turin" was a forgery by Leonardo da Vinci. Clearly, this book and its authors belong not with serious history, but with the irresponsible sensationalism more commonly associated with Erich von Daniken or Al Gore.

Like those of their kind, the authors display no comprehension of either valid evidence or academic integrity. They persistently confuse surmise with actual evidence, declare matters "clear" or "conclusive" which are only bizarre conjecture at best, misquote sources, and simply lie about the facts. They selectively pick and choose evidence, ignoring or misrepresenting facts disproving their theories, and preferring only inferior sources which seem to back them up. Over and again, the authors posit unlikely scenarios, often based upon nothing more than third-hand rumor or the inability to prove that an event could not have happened. A few pages later, this surmise is described as "backed by evidence," which becomes "substantial evidence" by the end of the chapter. In the next chapter, the surmise is not only declared to be hard fact, but is then used as the basis for another, even wilder imagination.

Speaking of questions, the authors mimic the von Daniken scam of phrasing all their major points as questions: "Is it possible that a secret radio transmitter in Scotland gave Hess directions?" "Could it be that Hess actually died with the Duke of Kent in a strange air crash?" "Was the British government involved in a massive sting operation?" The authors make no effort to answer, and seem unaware that their obligation as purported historians is to answer questions, not merely to raise them. One is reminded of the famous Mr. Ripley, who challenged his audiences to "believe it or not." Alas, the authors prove their intellectual dishonesty by posing preposterous questions, waiting a few pages, then proceeding as if the question had been not only answered, but proved conclusively. Never once do the authors confess that their wild speculations are just that.

Alas, this is a difficult book to read. Not because the authors use big words or abstruse concepts, but because they insist upon drawing so many specious conclusions. Nor is the book helped by the frequent misspellings, punctuation and style errors, and simple misuse of words and expressions, like "begging the question." If you believe in alien abductions, Elvis sightings, bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and other pseudoscience, you'll probably like this book. I firmly believe in the Loch Ness Monster, but I admit that I do so only because I want Nessie to exist, not because any evidence exists. Alas, the authors of this book are not that honest. They believe in selling books, and are fully prepared to mortgage their own souls to hoodwink the unsuspecting (and undiscriminating) public. I have dozens of books about Rudolf Hess in my library. This one is pure fiction masquerading as history.
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on September 5, 2014
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