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Mengele Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1987

4.2 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell (May 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440155797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440155799
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book at the same time I purchased the Longerich biography of Himmler and the Gerwarth bio of Heydrich. Those are both academic biographies that adhere to high standards of historical research; Posner's book does not. Posner presents the case for the prosecution. It's a piece of highly readable "true crime" writing, but history or biography it's not.

In the area Posner is really interested in--the disappearance of Mengele after World War II--Posner appears to have done yeoman's work. But the reasons why we should care about Mengele are given short shrift. The thirty-two years of his life before Auschwitz get a 15-page summary. The Auschwitz period gets a slightly more substantive 40 pages. And the rest of the book, some 270 pages of text, is about Mengele in flight and hiding. In terms of a "complete" story, what the man did and why he did it is of considerably more interest than the logistics of his flight from the consequences, but about Mengele from 1911 to 1945, Posner has nothing new to say.

In fact, Posner doesn't appear to have met a professional standard for evidence regarding this period. Though the blurb claims Posner had "exclusive and unrestricted access to more than 5,000 pages of personal writings and family photos," it's questionable whether he personally read much of this. Instead, he provides sound-bite opinions from others "who have read Mengele's autobiographical writings" (see for example p5, 15). The opinion of an unknown academic regarding papers that are not quoted is of little value.

Even more surprising, Posner uses an arrest warrant as evidence of Mengele's actions in Auschwitz (p24ff). As a qualified lawyer, he really ought to know better.
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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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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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