A Special Mission and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $2.75 (18%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
A Special Mission: Hitler... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius XII Paperback – May 27, 2008


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.25
$5.75 $0.01
$12.25 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius XII + Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union's Cold War Against the Catholic Church
Price for both: $18.63

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306816172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306816178
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,555,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran popular historian Kurzman (The Bravest Battle) relates how a Hitler-Himmler order in 1943 to kidnap the pope and seize Vatican files and treasures was twice delayed and finally undermined by a group of high German officers and officials in Rome. The foilers were headed by the SS leader in Italy, Gen. Karl Wolff, whom Kurzman interviewed before his death in 1984. Kurzman demonstrates that Hitler wanted the Vatican neutralized because he thought the pope had aided the overthrow of Mussolini in 1943 and feared that the Church's leader would denounce the Final Solution in general and the imminent deportation of Rome's Jews in particular. Wolff and others in Rome, meanwhile, hoped to use the pope as an intermediary for a negotiated peace and an Anglo-American-German campaign against the Soviets. Kurzman also touches upon such related topics as the 1933 Nazi-Vatican Concordat, how Pius's silence on the murder of the Jews was partly rooted in excessive fears of a Soviet takeover of the Vatican, and the curious role of Rome's chief rabbi, Israel Zolli, who ultimately converted to Catholicism. Kurzman does a good job of telling a suspenseful and little-known story of WWII intrigue. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

By September 1943, the tide of battle had turned against Germany. As the Russian army steadily advanced from the east, British and American bombers were reducing German cities to rubble. As Hitler's physical and mental condition deteriorated, he often proposed wildly reckless and impractical schemes. One of those involved invading the Vatican and seizing the pope. According to Kurzman, a former foreign correspondent, the plot was serious and was to be implemented by SS General Karl Wolff, who was Kurzman's principal source for this intense, absorbing, but not fully convincing tale. According to Wolff, he foiled the plan through delay while obtaining the pope's silence as the SS rounded up Italian Jews and transported them to the death camps. As seen here, Wolff is arrogant, cynical, and manipulative. Still, he seems to have been blessed with a degree of personal charm, not quite fitting the bill as a monster. Some of his claims seem credible, but others can never be verified; his account is a wild ride loaded with surprising twists and turns. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Well written story-telling with great attention to historical detail.
Stratiotes Doxha Theon
It's a great look at an often overlooked facet of the Nazi regime - it's relationship with the Catholic church.
Antonino
Also, Kurzman refrains from turning the book into an attack or defense of Pius XII.
R. Slattery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hussle on June 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's about time that somebody jumped off the bandwagon that blindly shouts that Pius XII didn't do enough about the holocaust, and actually took a look at historical evidence to see if such accusations are warranted. What's been said about Pius XII is a real assasination of character. Bravo for standing up for historical truth for once.
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Hope for the Best on September 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kurzman has done excellent work in this very well balanced history of Pope Pius and the Nazi threat in WWII. There are no excuses made or whitewash of what the Vatican did and did not do during the war but this book aids in having a better understanding of the situation, time, and place. It also offers some enlightenment into the thinking of the pope and the objectives of the Vatican. Very worthwhile to anyone interested in these issues and most certainly essential reading for anyone who has read "Hitler's Pope." It is clear from what Kurzman writes that Pius was not a supporter of Hitler and his policies. The complications, danger, and moral struggle of a basically good man of faith challenged by impossible circumstances in a world gone mad have never been presented in a better way.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Dattilo on July 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Kurman's work, the research for which was done over the course of almost 30 years, does a great job of showing that Pope Pius XII is not the evil figure portrayed by so many wannabe historians. This book is well-written, thoughtful and touching. If you are a student of history, this is well worth your time.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John Yuskaitis on August 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It was a most difficult time for the world in general, and for Pius XII in particular. Hitler's ambition threatened to conquer all of Europe and impose a rule of tyranny. The Pope, while he was Secretary of State and before his election to the papacy, was on record as opposing Hitler and his policies, and was hated by the Fuhrer. A Special Mission was ordered by Hitler to Seize the Pope and transport him to northern Italy, and at the same time to eliminate the high officials in the Vatican government. This mission was given to General Karl Wolff, the SS Commandant in Rome. Wolff perceived this action as a detriment to the Nazi cause, thinking that the tide of public opinion would be overwhelmingly against Germany, and even affect the morale and support of the German troops, a large percentage of whom were Catholic. He also came to believe that Germany would not win the war, and that his efforts to abort the kidnap mission could help Germany to obtain honorable terms for surrender, and even an accord with the Allies to oppose Soviet Russia. Accordingly, the General did everything he could to short-circuit the plan, including warning the Pope about the Special Mission, and asking him to refrain from speaking out against Hitler, to avoid capture and the destruction of the Vatican government.

Kurzman carefully records the many incidents that took place in this drama, many of them related to the exchanges between General Wolff and the Pope. There are many details that perhaps are not common knowledge, and from an historical perspective are quite interesting. While the intention of the author would seem to be vindication of Pius's role during World War II, the subtle questions he poses seem to me to be barbs inflicted for dereliction of duty - cheap shots. All in all, it is an interesting account of the battle between the Vatican and the Third Reich and is worthwhile reading.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stratiotes Doxha Theon VINE VOICE on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
The fact that this story is a balanced and fair assessment of a Pope means it will be appealing to conservative Roman Catholics hoping to find the truth about Pius XII. It is not a defense of this much-maligned Pope but the facts speak for themselves in the depth of research this work provides. But beyond setting the record straight with meticulous research, Mr. Kurzman has crafted a thrilling tale of espionage and intrigue sure to please the likes of Ian Fleming or Tom Clancy fans. As is so often the case, real history is often filled with more excitement than the most gifted fiction writers could imagine. Such is the case in this story. Well written story-telling with great attention to historical detail. Very highly recommended fun and informative reading.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James E. Egolf VINE VOICE on April 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dan Kurzman's book titled A SPECIAL MISSION is a history text, a crime/spy thriller, and a profile in rare courage and lack thereof. The background is Italy and Europe from c. 1936-1945. The status of the Vatican officials and Pope Pius XII is viewed from backgound of W.W. II and uneasy realtions between Vatican officials and Italy's Fascist leaders including Mussolini (1881-1945). The major factor was the German invasion of Italy to rescue Mussolini and the hatred Hitler & co. had toward Catholics and espeically Pope Pius XII whose tenure was from 1939-1958.

To claim that Hitler HATED Catholics and Pope Piux XII is an understatement. The commander of German forces in Italy was General Wolff who opposed any hostile action against Italian Catholics and the Vatican. Wolff's views were based in part on conscience and in part of political options. Gen. Wolff knew early that the Germans would lose W.W. II, and he wanted Pope Pius XII to assist in a negotated peace. Gen. Wolff also knew if Hitler & co. knew that if he (Wolff) actually worked against plans of German troops' invasion of the Vatican and the the kidnapping and/or massacre of Pope Pius XII that Hitler would have Wolff arrested and put to death. On the other hand, Himmler, who was in charge of the German S.S., HATED Catholics and Pope Pius XII. Martin Borman, another Hitler official, wanted to rid not only the Vatican and Italy of Catholics and Jews, he wanted to rid ALL of Europe of Catholics and Jews.

Pope Pius XII was clearly aware of German plans. He was well aware that his life was in danger, and he had to be be careful to appear neutral while secretly (very secretly)working to rescue refugees including Jews. He ordered monks and nuns to receive refugees to save them from German persecution.
Read more ›
23 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews