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Mengele: The Complete Story Hardcover – April, 1986

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill (April 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070505985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070505988
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on five years' research and exclusive access to family papers, this highly engrossing book gives the fullest account yet published of Josef Mengele's life. Posner, a Manhattan attorney, and Ware, a British journalist, also examine the efforts to bring the doctor to trial and draw conclusions about why he was never caught. They separate fact from legend, account for the false trails that enticed West German and Israeli agents and self-appointed Nazi hunters, and describe the media circus in 1985 when the grave of the "Angel of Death" was finally found. The book is filled with startling touches, such as Mengele's first wife's comments after visiting her husband at Auschwitz when he was conducting his "experiments." The book is an exciting chronicle of escape, evasion, close calls and fearful loneliness. Through extended quotes from a diary Mengele kept from May 1960 until shortly before his death in 1979, plus the comments of many people who knew him at various stages, a memorable multifaceted portrait of "the world's most hated man" emerges. Photos. 50,000 first printing; $20,000 ad/promo; author tour. (June
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This well-written biography is far superior to Gerald Astor's The "Last" Nazi: the life and times of Dr. Joseph Mengele ( LJ 11/1/85). Through Mengele's son, the authors were given access to their subject's letters and private diaries. Judicious use of these materials represents the book's greatest strength. Though Mengele's nightmarish Auschwitz activities almost defy rational analysis, the authors have done their best. Fully two-thirds of the study, however, addresses Mengele's years of evasion, and it is here that a more "human" Mengele emergeslonely, frightened, and totally remorseless. Clearly documented and frequently exciting, this is the one popular account that libraries should acquire. Mark R. Yerburgh, Trinity Coll. Lib., Burlington, Vt.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Very well researched and written with all the facts.
Rose Marie
The writing is perfect and the book is spellbinding, I couldn't put it down.
Arvestl Lars
I highly recommend this book if you are interested in all aspects of WWII.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 81 people found the following review helpful By P. Bjel on April 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though genocide is something that continues to fill evening news and panel discussions on clashes and conflicts in countries that seem like an eternity away, this book explores the dark side to the Holocaust, darker than normal because, in this unbelievable biography, genocide and Nazi evil is given a human face in the form of the smiling and smartly-dressed SS doctor, Josef Mengele.
Known greatly by survivors and Holocaust historians/scholars, there is little literature out there that paints a complete portrait of this man, from his spoon-fed existence in Bavaria to his existence and later death in several South American havens, which, by sheltering this infamous Nazi, unwittingly spat in the face of international justice and law. The full story of his escape and hiding from the international community is described. Everything one could ask for on Mengele is contained within the pages of this book, sometimes shocking, sometimes sinister, sometimes bewildering, and often very thrilling.
Posner's book reads like a fast-paced thriller, in which the reader is transported back into time and placed before the spectacle of Mengele, the "Angel of Death." This is the first book by Posner read by the reviewer, and he admits that he was (and continues to be) very impressed. Meticulously researched and even given access to Mengele's unpublished and largely unused diaries and autobiography (still not released by the Mengele family), this biography stands out over all other 'attempts,' for they all fail miserably to even try to surpass or compete against Posner's masterpiece. He is to be commended on a fine job in painting a vivid portrait of Mengele.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sandor J. Woren on December 30, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A comprehensive account of the education, career, life as a fugitive, and strange death of one of the most notorious of the Nazi war criminals.
Posner and Ware use thoroughly researched historical sources, including Mengele's own autobiography to tell this story. To his education and strange doctoral thesis in anthropology on "Racial Morphological Research on the Lower Jaw Section of Four Racial Groups," to his bizarre medical career involving his well know human experimentation and his less well known job of interviewing and examining subjects to determine their racial purity, the authors do a fine job of recounting Mengele's early education and career.
Of greater interest, however, is the story of his escape from Europe and life on the run in various South American countries. The story of how he was able to evade for 33 years the most comprehensive manhunt (probably in history), makes for interesting reading. The book recounts how he was able to make and maintain strategic friends and alliances, in South America, and hold onto contacts, friends, and family still living in Germany. Included is the story of a fascinating account of the visit of his son Rolf, about 1 year before his father's death, in a secret rendezvous in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in which Rolf confronted his father and made him justify his involvement in some of histories worst atrocities.
This book shows how the world's most hunted man was able to evade capture, cultivate friends and alliances, and even receive medical care under an assumed identity.
In light or recent events, raises questions in the reader's mind if such a notorious figure (such as Osama bin Ladin) could do as well, escaping capture over a manhunt lasting decades.
A truly interesting story, well worth the moderate time investment to read. ...
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Posner delves deep into the life of one of the sickest, most disgusting human beings to ever walk the planet earth. The Angel of Death, as Mengele has been refered to was the chief "medical" officer at the Aushwitz death camp, during its hayday in the latter part of WWII. Posner examines his life from boyhood, through the end of his life, hiding in Peru. The chapters that involve Auswitz are the most horrific I have ever read. This book is an absolute must for anyone who is interested in the war or the Holocust. Mengele is arguably as sick as Adolf Hitler himself, and his life must be examined to ensure it never happens again. I am a huge fan of Posner. I believe this is his most important work.
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74 of 95 people found the following review helpful By David Thomson on September 10, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I do not claim to be an expert in holocaust studies, but I suspect that the collaboration of Gerald Posner and John Ware on this work dealing with the diabolically evil Josef Mengele is among the very best analysis of the Nazi phenomenon ever put together. The fact that these two gentlemen were essentially outsiders who found themselves thrust into a world and a mind set alien to their everyday life may have provided them with the objectivity and clear thinking needed to truly pursue such an enigma as Mengele.
William Shirer and other foreign journalists had to control an overwhelming urge to laugh at the Nazis while covering their meetings in the late 1920's and early 30's. Nobody took these comical losers seriously. The consensus was that the Adolph Hitler and his bizarre cronies would shortly disappear into political oblivion never to be heard from again. Josef Mengele was barely a teenager during this time and lived in a solidly upper middle class family that probably would have snubbed Hitler, the former WW1 corporal, if their paths had ever crossed. The young Mengele was raised a staunch Catholic, a religious belief system he would later reject for the secular absolutist faith of Nazism. Nonetheless, it is virtually certain that the pervasive anti-Semitism of German Catholicism was Mengele's first introduction to an intense hostility towards Jews he would forevermore embrace. Mengele, an unexceptional student, had a driving ambition to succeed and make a name for himself. It appears that Mengele was indifferent about politics when he opted to study "anthropology and human genetics, so I could study the whole range of medicine.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

John Martin of ABC News says "Gerald Posner is one of the most resourceful investigators I have encountered in thirty years of journalism." Garry Wills calls Posner "a superb investigative reporter," while the Los Angeles Times dubs him "a classic-style investigative journalist." "His work is painstakingly honest journalism" concluded The Washington Post. The New York Times lauded his "exhaustive research techniques" and The Boston Globe determined Posner is "an investigative journalist whose work is marked by his thorough and meticulous research." "A resourceful investigator and skillful writer," says The Dallas Morning News.

Posner was one of the youngest attorneys (23) ever hired by the Wall Street law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. A Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (1975), he was an Honors Graduate of Hastings Law School (1978), where he served as the Associate Executive Editor for the Law Review. Of counsel to the law firm he founded, Posner and Ferrara, he is now a full time journalist and author.

He is the Chief Investigative Reporter for the Daily Beast (www.thedailybeast/author/gerald-posner). In the past, he was a freelance writer on investigative issues for several news magazines, and a regular contributor to NBC, the History Channel, CNN, FOX News, CBS, and MSNBC. A member of the National Advisory Board of the National Writers Union, Posner is also a member of the Authors Guild, PEN, The Committee to Protect Journalists, and Phi Beta Kappa. He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, author, Trisha Posner, who works on all his projects (

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#68 in Books > History