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The Devil Himself: A Novel Hardcover – July 19, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; F First Edition edition (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312668821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312668822
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,552,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A darkly comic tale about a chaotic period in American history."--Las Vegas Review-Journal
 
"A fascinating account, based on fact, of the significant role Lansky, Lucky Luciano, and other mobsters played in ridding New York harbor of spies and preparing the soil for the invasion of Sicily. ... Entertaining home front espionage"--Booklist

"With 'the fate of civilization rested upon a handful of weary sailors and patriotic crooks,' Dezenhall intrigues with well-imagined, little-known history."--Kirkus Reviews

"In the fictional thriller, The Devil Himself, author Eric Dezenhall explores how keeping friends close and enemies closer turned out well for the U.S. Navy during FDR’s reign.  In the heat of foreign terror, officials from the Reagan administration look back to the escapades of mobster Meyer Lansky, who, along with his posse, helped the Navy keep Nazis from invading the country."--DC Magazine

"Cloaking fact inside fiction can produce a fascinating product, and that is precisely what Washington, D.C., writer Eric Dezenhall has done in The Devil Himself."--The Washington Times
 

“The author has created a fascinating tale, a mixture of fact and creative fiction about military covert actions, espionage, and how the Mob, while breaking many of its laws, remains patriotic when its country is under threat. This is a brilliantly entertaining novel.”--Historical Novels Review

“Like the literary masters Len Deighton and Norman Spinrad, in The Devil Himself Washington insider Eric Dezenhall spins a whimsical ‘what if’ tale with an alternative perspective on World War II and even sends up flares into the Reagan era.”--James Grady, author of Six Days of the Condor

"From an historical perspective, the book portrays yet another facet of a war and an era brimming with so many compelling and poignant personal stories."--OpenMarket.org

"A powerful story with fascinating characteriziations…captivating narration and dialogue."--Hadassah Magazine


Past Praise for Eric Dezenhall:

“[Dezenhall’s] superb eye and ear at times call to mind such masters of the journalistic novel as Tom Wolfe.” --Time

“[Dezenhall] keeps getting better with every novel.” --Booklist

“Dezenhall is the most mordantly funny writer not named Westlake.” --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Finally gives the Mafia what they need---a pollster to improve their image!" --Janet Evanovich

About the Author

Eric Dezenhall is an author and damage control expert based in Washington, D.C. He is the CEO of Dezenhall Resources,a nationally recognized high stakes communications firm. He has appeared on network television and radio outlets including NPR, CNN, FOX, CNBC, and MSNBC as a damage control expert; and has been quoted in publications including Fortune, USA Today, Forbes and The Washington Post. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, The Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post.

Eric is the author of eight books, including two non-fiction texts on crisis communications and corporate witch hunts, entitled Damage Control (Portfolio, 2007) and Nail 'Em! (Prometheus Books, 1999). He is also the author of six novels: Money Wanders (St. Martin's, 2002), Jackie Disaster (Minotaur, 2003), Shakedown Beach (St. Martin's, 2004), Turnpike Flameout (St. Martin's, 2006) and Spinning Dixie (St. Martin's, 2007). His sixth novel, The Devil Himself (Thomas Dunne, St. Martin's), which deals with the collaboration between the U.S. Navy and organized crime during World War II to secure American ports from Nazi attack, will be published in July 2011.

As an investigative writer, Eric wrote articles about the newly discovered diaries of the late mobster Meyer Lansky, which appeared in The Los Angeles Times Syndicate, The Baltimore Sun, The New Republic and Ethical Corporation. A documentary he co-produced on organized crime aired on the Discovery Channel.

Eric is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he studied political science and the news media. He serves as a Trustee of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, an organization devoted to fostering educational and career opportunities for outstanding young African-American men. Eric was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. He lives near Washington, D.C., with his family.

More About the Author

Eric Dezenhall is an author and damage control expert based in Washington, D.C. He is the CEO of Dezenhall Resources, a nationally recognized high-stakes communications firm. He frequently lectures in academic and business circles, and regularly appears as a damage control expert in the international media. He has appeared on network television and radio outlets including NPR, CNN, FOX, CNBC, and MSNBC; and has been quoted in publications including Fortune, USA Today, Forbes, and the Washington Post. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today and is a regular contributor to the Daily Beast and Huffington Post. He was named one of Business Insider's 25 most influential PR People Behind the Scenes of Corporate America.

Eric is the author of nine books, including three non-fiction texts on crisis communications and corporate witch hunts, entitled Damage Control: How to Get the Upper Hand When Your Business is Under Attack (Portfolio, 2007) and Nail 'Em! Confronting High Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Businesses (Prometheus Books, 1999), both of which have been widely cited in business, media and academic circles. His third novel, Glass Jaw: A Manifesto for Defending Fragile Reputations in an Age of Instant Scandal (12 Books, October 2014), explores how once-powerful people, organizations and brands are easily brought down by the seemingly powerless through a media and internet that feed almost exclusively on destructive information. The book highlights new, often counter-intuitive strategies for fighting back. He is also the author of six novels: Money Wanders (St. Martin's, 2002), Jackie Disaster (Minotaur, 2003), Shakedown Beach (St. Martin's, 2004), Turnpike Flameout (St. Martin's, 2006) and Spinning Dixie (St. Martin's, 2007). His sixth novel, The Devil Himself (Thomas Dunne, St. Martin's, 2011), deals with the collaboration between the U.S. Navy and organized crime during World War II to secure American ports from Nazi attack.

As an investigative writer, Eric wrote articles about the newly discovered diaries of the late mobster Meyer Lansky, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, the Baltimore Sun, The New Republic, and Ethical Corporation. A documentary he co-produced on organized crime aired on the Discovery Channel.

Eric is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he studied political science and the news media. He serves as a Trustee of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, an organization devoted to fostering educational and career opportunities for outstanding young African-American men. Eric was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. He lives near Washington, D.C., with his family.

Customer Reviews

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The book is well written and enjoyable to read.
Quixote010
The dialogue is tight, the characters well drawn, the plot exciting, and the observations insightful, witty and at times hilarious.
Amazon Customer
Extremely well written and probably more fact than fiction.
Tom Jehle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phurn on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have to begin by saying that I'm a serial reader who "reads" (mostly non fiction) much like most people follow multiple television shows. I very, very rarely pick up a book and stick with it exclusively end to end. When I opened The Devil Himself it was one of 24 - yes, 24 - books I was then reading. When I finished The Devil Himself I hadn't turned a single page in any of those other books. In other words, it was so compelling and well written that I couldn't stop reading and it became only the second book in over 3 years that I read front to back without interruption by a chapter or two from another book.

With that said, The Devil Himself is a brilliant work of historical fiction that is at times intriguing black bag ops and at other times historically and socio-politically enlightening. The first person narrative account perspective Dezenhall uses as Jonah during his conversations with Meyer Lansky work extremely well. I found myself often forgetting that I was reading a novel at all.

I'm a former prosecutor who ran a narcotics strike force targeting upper level drug dealers so I'm extremely familiar with the absolute necessity of working with "bad guys" in furtherance of a "greater good." Because of that, the basic premise of this book is easy for me to understand and applaud. Of course, the stakes are many orders of magnitude more important in The Devil Himself than anything I was involved with. Even without that background, Dezenhall's attention to detail and deft use of conversational storytelling makes everything come to life in a credible, well-paced manner.

Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in WWII, spy dramas, the US war on terror and just about anyone who simply enjoys a well written book that doesn't disappoint or lose steam after a few chapters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wilma on August 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This story reads rather well and it's like getting two stories in one! The first story is about how the US Navy collaborated with the mob in WW2 to catch Nazi saboterus and then the second story surrounds Meyer Lansky his struggles and how he managed Lucky Luciano- who was in jail! Dezenhall gets that Lansky wanted to be both a successful American businessman and also a patriot. He would have enlisted in the Army, but age and height prevented that so he did the next best thing--he aligned himself with the Naval Intelligence and through his "affiliations" created the Ferret Squad to safeguard the Manhattan waterfront. Good read and extremely interesting, for those of you who like a little Nazi head cracking and history thrown in for good measure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bonnie_blu on August 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The story of "organized crime's" contributions to exposing Nazi spies in the New York / New Jersey area and preparing Sicily for the Allied invasion is a fascinating story that would have been much more riveting if told by a more gifted author. However, I found Dezenhall's writing to be awkward, clunky, and herky-jerky (meaning it did not flow smoothly from one point to the next). In addition, I feel using President Reagan to set up the story was an obvious plot construct used in an attempt to "hook" the reader and make the story relevant to modern times. Unfortunately, it stuck out as an obvious manipulation and actually detracted from the tale. Meyer Lansky is an enormously intriguing character and a historically important one (Miami, Las Vegas, Havana, etc.). However, he does not come to life in this tale, and as a result, neither does the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dougpound on June 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
World War II, early Reagan Era terrorism, Mafia, Meyer Lansky: These topics should, in theory, make for great historical fiction. To the author's credit, he weaves several true facts about the characters and the events into moderately coherent narrative, but overall, the whole is much less than these interesting parts. The dialogue is weak, the characterizations are either conventional or thin, and certain plot points are barely connected to the story as a whole. I often had a sense that the author had a couple of historical events that he wanted to throw into the "reimagining" and he had to do plot gymnastics to make them fit. There's plenty on all of these subjects elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Bravo on November 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One often hears that a certain book was a "page turner" or that "once begun, you can't put it down." This was all that and more. As a retired police chief, I always had contempt for a petty crook and held a certain admiration for a great crook. Lansky was certainly one of a kind and not one to be easily analyzed as a person. I accept that the underworld "big guys" did aid in the war effort and have never been officially recognized. I have read other accounts of their involvement but never on such a personal level. "All's fair in love and war." We won so who's to questions our methods?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kathy clampitt on March 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
simply cannot put this wonderful book down. have read many books on Meyer Lansky and this one is different as it is Meyer"s "relaxed" story as he was closer to checking out himself. beautifully written and enticing. best book i have read this year and i read alot. kathy clampitt
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vito on November 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A superb read. Kept my interest from start to finish. Recommend for those that like this genre. You will not be disappointed.
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