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Book Review: Nazis, Spies & Fakes: Ten Years at the Coalface of History

Nazis, Spies & Fakes: Ten Years at the Coalface of History
By Guy Walters
Lockhart Armstrong Limited

It is a rather controversial time for a Daily Mail journalist to release a book entitled ‘Nazis, Spies and Fakes’, but please don’t let that stop you reading on. Guy Walters is a stellar historical journalist.

The book is an assembly of Walters’ journalistic writings. As the title explains, the fifty two articles cover a ten year period ‘at the coalface’ of historical journalism. We find articles written for Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Times and a buxom raft created for The Daily Mail. While they are not solely about the 1930s and 40s, the message is clear: we cannot get enough of the Nazis.Nazis, Spies and Fakes

The book is jam-packed with fantastic stories from history, with each article drawing you in with a present-tense narrative before hitting you with the background and unravelling the mystery and history of the story.  It is not a book to be read in one sitting, but it is an easy read to be dipped into and out of at leisure.

From Stasi Chief Markus Wolf’s use of ‘Romeo’ agents in East Germany and a Nazi concentration camp set up on Alderney in 1940 to the astonishing story of girl-gang leader Alice Diamond in the 1920s and the mid-twentieth century trend for sending animals into space, Walters pinpricks his way through the infinite ebony of history and creates a fascinating historical starscape. We never get the whole picture, but that doesn’t matter. Each article is well researched and colourfully written – juicy details pulled out like thick wool through a small hole.

The author’s first article opens with the sentence, ‘It is a shaming truth that Nigella, Posh ‘n’ Becks and all the Pop Idols put together can’t sell books as fast as a swastika can.’ I suspect Walters’ book will sell rather well.

Nazis, Spies & Fakes: Ten Years at the Coalface of History is available to buy from Amazon now.

About Rebecca Rideal

Founder and editor of The History Vault, Rebecca is a historian of seventeenth-century England, a former specialist factual television producer, and the author of 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire.

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