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Hunting Eichmann by Neal Bascomb Review

Title: Hunting Eichmann

Author: Neal Bascomb

First published April 1, 2009

390 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780618858675 (ISBN10: 0618858679)

Rating: 4.24


In “Hunting Eichmann,” author Neal Bascomb delivers a gripping and comprehensive account of the worldwide manhunt for one of the most notorious war criminals of the twentieth century. This book takes readers on a heart-stopping journey from the fall of Nazi Germany to the shadowy streets of Buenos Aires, where Adolf Eichmann lived in hiding for years.

With a cast of unforgettable characters, including a tenacious German prosecutor, a determined blind man and his daughter, and a scrappy team of Israeli Mossad agents, Bascomb weaves a tale that is both thrilling and historically significant. With newly uncovered surveillance photographs and meticulous research, “Hunting Eichmann” is a must-read for anyone interested in the pursuit of justice and the power of perseverance.

About the Author

Neal Bascomb is an accomplished author who specializes in non-fiction narratives that highlight inspiring stories of adventure and achievement. He has authored several books that have been translated into over 18 languages, featured in documentaries, and optioned for major film and television projects.

Born in Colorado and raised in St. Louis, Neal attended public school and spent a lot of time playing hockey. He earned a double degree in Economics and English Literature from Miami University in Ohio, and went on to work as a journalist in London, Dublin, and Paris.

Later, he worked as an editor at St. Martin’s Press in New York before becoming a full-time author in 2000.

Neal’s first book, HIGHER, won the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writer award and was featured in a History Channel documentary. His second book, THE PERFECT MILE, was a New York Times bestseller and is considered one of the top books on running.

His third book, RED MUTINY, won the United States Maritime Literature Award and received critical acclaim worldwide. His fourth book, HUNTING EICHMANN, was an international bestseller and led to a young adult edition called NAZI HUNTERS, which won several awards in 2014.

His fifth book, THE NEW COOL, was optioned for film by major producer Scott Rudin. His sixth book, ONE MORE STEP, which focuses on the first man with cerebral palsy to climb Kilimanjaro and finish the Kona Ironman, was also a New York Times bestseller.

When he’s not writing, Neal enjoys hiking, skiing, and drinking coffee. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington with his family.

Editoral Review

Neal Bascomb’s Hunting Eichmann is a remarkable non-fiction work that chronicles the efforts of a team of Israeli agents to track down one of the most notorious figures of the 20th century: Adolf Eichmann, a key architect of the Holocaust who escaped to Argentina after World War II. With a journalistic eye for detail and a novelist’s talent for pacing and drama, Bascomb delivers a gripping account of an epic manhunt that spanned years and continents, and that ultimately led to the capture and trial of Eichmann in Israel in 1961.

Bascomb, a former journalist who has written several well-received works of narrative non-fiction, is a skilled storyteller who brings both empathy and rigor to his research. His writing is clear and concise, yet also evocative and immersive, transporting readers to the streets of Buenos Aires or the halls of the Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv.

He weaves together multiple threads of narrative, including the historical context of the Holocaust and its aftermath, the personal stories of the Israeli agents who carried out the mission, and the political maneuverings and controversies surrounding Eichmann’s prosecution. At its core, Hunting Eichmann is a story of justice and vengeance, of victims and perpetrators, and of the complex moral questions that arise when confronting unspeakable evil.

The book presents a nuanced and multifaceted portrait of Eichmann himself, portraying him both as a cold-blooded bureaucrat who rationalized genocide as a matter of duty, and as a flawed and vulnerable man who was haunted by his own culpability. In contrast, Bascomb’s depiction of the Israeli agents is one of heroism and sacrifice, as they risk their lives and reputations to ensure that Eichmann is brought to justice.

One of the strengths of Hunting Eichmann is its meticulous attention to detail, both in terms of the historical research and the operational logistics of the manhunt. Bascomb’s descriptions of the various spy gadgets and techniques used by the Mossad are both fascinating and suspenseful, and he shows the intellectual and strategic brilliance of key figures such as Rafi Eitan and Avner Less.

Likewise, Bascomb’s exposition on the political and diplomatic maneuverings that surrounded the capture of Eichmann provides a valuable context for understanding the complexities of international law and human rights. However, some readers may find that Hunting Eichmann is overly reliant on dramatization and speculation, particularly in the dialogue and interior monologues of the characters.

While Bascomb acknowledges his reliance on primary documents and firsthand interviews, he also acknowledges the challenges of reconstructing key conversations or motivations. This occasionally leads to a sense of artificiality or contrivance, particularly in the more emotionally charged scenes.

Overall, Hunting Eichmann is a compelling and important work of non-fiction that sheds new light on one of the darkest chapters of human history. Bascomb’s writing is insightful and meticulous, and his research is exhaustive and judicious.

While the book may not be for everyone, particularly those who prefer a more objective or dispassionate approach to historical writing, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the Holocaust, international law, or the ethics of justice. The book is relevant not only as a historical artifact, but also as a cautionary tale for our own time, when the threat of state-sponsored atrocities and genocide remains ever-present.

Rating: 9/10