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Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member (Vintage) [Kindle Edition]

Philip Freiher Von Boeselager , Florence Fehrenbach , Jerome Fehrenbach , Steven Rendall
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

When the Second World War broke out, Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, then 25-years-old, fought enthusiastically for Germany as a cavalry officer. But after discovering Nazi crimes, von Boeselager’s patriotism quickly turned to disgust, and he joined a group of conspirators who plotted to kill Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. In this elegant but unflinching memoir, von Boeselager gives voice to the spirit of the small but determined band of men who took a stand against the Third Reich in what culminating in the failed “Valkyrie” plot—one of the most fascinating near misses of twentieth-century history.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The July 20, 1944, plot to kill Hitler has received much historical attention from historians (and lately from Hollywood, in the recent eponymous film starring Tom Cruise), and this slim volume adds a little to that literature. As a rare firsthand memoir by a participant, this narrative gives a personal account of the events and conspirators' motives. The first half of the book is less thriller than an account of von Boeselager's military exploits leading a German cavalry division on the Russian front, and illustrates his growing disillusionment with the Nazi regime. He and his brother Georg, a fellow army leader and co-conspirator, were persuaded to join the plot co-hatched by Col. Henning von Tresckow. Readers already familiar with the history of Valkyrie will gain an insider's perspective, the portrait of a man of honor and independent mind, but readers new to the subject may want to read this along with histories of the plot. 17 photos. (May 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Memorable. . . . This book deserves your time because of its fascinating story, plainly but sharply told, of an individual in an extraordinary situation.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Remarkable. . . . An astonishing memoir. . . . Of real significance to Second World War historians.”
Daily Telegraph (London)

“Boeselager’s book doesn’t tarry in the realm of might-have-been. Instead, it explores reality—the importance of making accessible to future generations the full truth of history.”
The Christian Science Monitor

“An extraordinary memoir. . . . A one-of-a-kind eyewitness account, essential for students of the Third Reich and all champions of freedom against tyranny.”

“Celebrates a long-since-vanished generation of scholar-warriors. . . . von Boeselager [was] both intelligent and honourable.”
—Daily Mail (London)

“[A] brisk, illuminating description of how one German solider struggled to reconcile his profound religious and moral sensibility with his cavalryman’s patriotic code of honour and thereby became part of this conspiracy.”
—Daily Express (London)

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 952 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (January 5, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GTLFM8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,181 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Plots Against Hitler May 18, 2009
I found this a remarkably interesting book, even though I agree with a previous reviewer that relatively little specifically limited to Valkyrie is discussed. What makes the book so worthwhile for those interested in the period are several considerations. First, since the book is somewhat of an autobiography by von Boeselager we gain an invaluable perspective into how some old line German noble families felt about Hitler and the Nazi leadership, but also why despite these adverse feelings the Boeselager family nonetheless sacrificed two dead sons and nearly lost a third during the course of the second world war. The book is unique in that the author (who was the sole survivor of the various plots against Hitler and died in 2008 after being honored in France for his role in the conspiracy) is uniquely qualified to explain what motivated these German patriots, with generations of military ancestors in their backgrounds, to contemplate, plan, and attempt on several occasions to eliminate their commander-in chief. The plotters fully realized that if they were successful, they would more likely be seen as traitors than heroes in Germany. While they are busy plotting, many if these officers are daily fighting an incredibly bloody war on the eastern front; I lost track of how many times the author and his famous brother, Georg, were wounded while leading calvary forces.

A most intriguing question always has been why did these senior military officials undertake to remove Hitler? The author is emphatic that the explanations we often hear from historians were not the true motivating factors. That is, the plotters did not believe they could negotiate a separate peace with the western allies, preserve the German areas seized during the war, hold on to German territories, or even end the war.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, wrong title... May 13, 2009
The title suggests that this books is about the Valkyrie plot, when it is about a number of plots against Hitler, and Valkyrie is only briefly mentioned, whithout any details. In fact, this book was published in Germany as "We want Hitler dead" - a much more compatible name. It's clear that the publishers renamed it after the movie, which is rather deceiving.

In spite of that, it's a nice biography, and is worth reading as a general WWII resource. However, if you're looking for specific Valkyrie info, pick another one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little gem of a book August 19, 2010
Others have been critical that this book is not specifically about the famous plot to kill Hitler. They are right, the Tom Cruise film does a pretty good job at that. However this is a gem of a book, fairly short but an emotional, powerful and engaging sense of the circumstances under which German officers came to see Hitler as evil. It highlights the difference between the German military and the SS and the Nazis and the circumstances under which Nazi standards seeped into a country trying to regain it's honour an dignity.

The cover mentions Valkyrie but also clearly states it is "the memoirs of the conspiracy's last survivor", Philipp Von Boeselager. From a slightly aristocratic family Philipp and his brothers were free thinking outdoors types for whom the German army in the late 1930s provided an opportunity to rebuild their country and to drag it back from the sorry state WW1 had left it in. Proud and athletic Philipp and his brother Georg join the cavalry, (and I was amazed how much the Germans used horseback cavalry during the war and especially on the Russian Front) and eventually war breaks out....

At this point this is a memoir mainly dealing with Philipp and his very talented brother and their military experience up to and including the horrors of the Russian front where the supplies ran out and the temperature dropped lower then they thought was possible. This is a tale of dedicated and talented officers with a total focus on their jobs, but gradually the reality of what was happening to Germany under the Nazis starts to seep through to them and their world changes. For Philipp it was an officer casually boasting about the slaughter of some Gypsies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Insider's View of the Great Conspiracy August 12, 2009
Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager died in May 2008. He was the longest surviving member of the most famous assassination plot against Hitler. Before he died he sat down for long conversations with Florence and Jérôme Fehrenbach, and together they have produced the memoir _Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member_ (Knopf). The Fehrenbachs say that von Boeselager agreed only reluctantly to talk about the matters herein. "Every reference to them," they write, "elicits memories that are almost always painful. Even after the war, his participation in the plots against Hitler was a difficult secret to bear. At first he did not even share this with his wife." There was a sensational Tom Cruise movie earlier this year by the same name, but von Boeselager's memoir has few pyrotechnics or chase scenes. His turned out to be a supporting role (in the actual plot, not in the movie), but in this he delivers an important lesson. There were not just a few Germans in the conspiracy, not just a few assassins, but a broadly organized group that were patriotically motivated.

Much of this memoir has to do with von Boeselager's brother Georg; they were from a family of nine children, but Georg and Philipp were particularly close, going to school together and both eventually joining the army. Von Boeselager explains that he had little concern about the Nazi regime initially because officers were trained in apolitical ways, and lived in barracks cut off from the cities and from newspapers. He did hear within the barracks about Kristallnacht in November 1938, a limited report of only a few shops ransacked.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Did he write it just to declare he is not a Nazi?
The author actually has very little involvement in the Valkyrie plot-- he assembled the explosives that were used in the attempted assassination of the bombing at the Wolf's Lair. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Red Baron X
4.0 out of 5 stars A memoir of conflicting duties
"I had not become an officer in order to shoot the head of state like a dog," writes Philipp Freiher von Boeselager in "Valkyrie. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rick Skwiot
5.0 out of 5 stars good historical account
The writer is very engaging from the get go. It is wonderful to have his perspective as a patriotic German during the 30's. Great read, interesting view point.
Published 12 months ago by B. Bradley
2.0 out of 5 stars Good memoir
This is a valuable memoir, but has little context or analysis. It is an adjunct to history,not a real history.
Published 12 months ago by Stephen A. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
I enjoyed the book. It was very interesting to learn more about some of the unknown people who plotted against Hitler.
Published 12 months ago by J. Growden
5.0 out of 5 stars Valkyrie
Valkyrie is basically the story of Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, the last member who was part of the plot Valkyrie, the attempt to kill Hitler. Read more
Published on March 20, 2011 by Emina S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Incredible story and incredible man. I had the honor of meeting him years ago; he emanated a dignified strength and humility... Read more
Published on December 26, 2010 by D. von Stauffenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Price
The book came in good condition and came within one day, NYC is a good place for using Amazon's prime account. Read more
Published on December 2, 2010 by Melody
4.0 out of 5 stars Killing The Un-Killable
This is a work of history, biography and fiction combined; no mean achievement in such a small volume. It is a history of Germany prior to, and during the Second World War. Read more
Published on February 4, 2010 by Colin J. Edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Memoir
Valkyrie is and excellent memoir of a lower level figure in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. It is concise, easy to read and gives the reader a real insight into the mindset... Read more
Published on November 6, 2009 by Jeff W Traylor
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