Tall, handsome, charming Col. Richard Meinertzhagen (1878–1967) was an acclaimed British war hero, a secret agent, and a dean of international ornithology. His exploits inspired three biographies, movies have been based on his life, and a square in Jerusalem is dedicated to his memory. Meinertzhagen was trusted by Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, T. E. Lawrence, Elspeth Huxley, and a great many others. He bamboozled them all. Meinertzhagen was a fraud. Many of the adventures recorded in his celebrated diaries were imaginary, including a meeting with Hitler while he had a loaded pistol in his pocket, an attempt to rescue the Russian royal family in 1918, and a shoot-out with Arabs in Haifa when he was seventy years old. True, he was a key player in Middle Eastern events after World War I, and during the 1930s he represented Zionism's interests in negotiations with Germany. But he also set up Nazi front organizations in England, committed a half-century of major and costly scientific fraud, and -- oddly -- may have been innocent of many killings to which he confessed (e.g., the murder of his own polo groom -- a crime of which he cheerfully boasted, although the evidence suggests it never occurred at all). Further, he may have been guilty of at least one homicide of which he professed innocence. A compelling read about a flamboyant rogue, The Meinertzhagen Mystery shows how recorded history reflects not what happened, but what we believe happened.
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The astonishingly influential life of an extraordinary liar
Meet Richard Meinertzhagen, chief of British intelligence in East Africa during World War I and an important figure in the Middle East after the war, whose colorful lies had an astounding impace on that period's histories
His tall tales led his friend Ian Fleming to use him as a model for James Bond
The CIA credited his famous deception, "Meinertzhagen's haversack ruse," with winning Palestine for General Allenby's army in 1917—but did it really? And did he devise it at all?About the Author:
Brian Garfield is the author of novels that have been made into Hollywood movies (including Hopscotch and Death Wish), a former president of the Mystery Writers of America, and the author of the nonfiction work, The Thousand-Mile War: Alaska and the Aleutians in World War II. He lives in Studio City, California.
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