The Devil s Mercedes

Author: Robert Klara
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1466878584
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In 1938, Mercedes-Benz began production of the largest, most luxurious limousine in the world. A machine of frightening power and sinister beauty, the Grosser 770K Model 150 Offener Tourenwagen was 20 feet long, seven feet wide, and tipped the scales at 5 tons. Its supercharged, 230-horsepower engine propelled the beast to speeds over 100 m.p.h. while its occupants reclined on glove-leather seats stuffed with goose down. Armor plated and equipped with hidden compartments for Luger pistols, the 770K was a sumptuous monster with a monstrous patron: Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party. Deployed mainly for propaganda purposes before the war, the hand-built limousines—in which Hitler rode standing in the front seat—motored through elaborate rallies and appeared in countless newsreels, swiftly becoming the Nazi party’s most durable symbol of wealth and power. Had Hitler not so thoroughly dominated the scene with his own megalomania, his opulent limousine could easily have eclipsed him. Most of the 770Ks didn’t make it out of the rubble of World War II. But several of them did. And two of them found their way, secretly and separately, to the United States. In The Devil’s Mercedes, author Robert Klara uncovers the forgotten story of how Americans responded to these rolling relics of fascism on their soil. The limousines made headlines, drew crowds, made fortunes and ruined lives. What never became public was how both of the cars would ultimately become tangled in a web of confusion, mania, and opportunism, fully entwined in a story of mistaken identity. Nobody knew that the limousine touted as Hitler’s had in fact never belonged to him, while the Mercedes shrugged off as an ordinary staff car—one later abandoned in a warehouse and sold off as government surplus—turned out to be none other than Hitler’s personal automobile. It would take 40 years, a cast of carnies and millionaires, the United States Army, and the sleuthing efforts of an obscure Canadian librarian to bring the entire truth to light. As he recounts this remarkable drama, Klara probes the meaning of these haunting hulks and their power to attract, excite and disgust. The limousines’ appearance collided with an American populous celebrating a victory even as it sought to stay a step ahead of the war’s ghosts. Ultimately, The Devil’s Mercedes isn’t only the story of a rare and notorious car, but what that car taught postwar America about itself.

FDR s Funeral Train

Author: Robert Klara
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9780230105935
Format: PDF, Docs
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The April 1945 journey of FDR's funeral train became a thousand-mile odyssey, fraught with heartbreak and scandal. As it passed through the night, few of the grieving onlookers gave thought to what might be happening behind the Pullman shades, where women whispered and men tossed back highballs. Inside was a Soviet spy, a newly widowed Eleanor Roosevelt, who had just discovered that her husband's mistress was in the room with him when he died, all the Supreme Court justices, and incoming president Harry S. Truman who was scrambling to learn secrets FDR had never shared with him. Weaving together information from long-forgotten diaries and declassified Secret Service documents, journalist and historian Robert Klara enters the private world on board that famous train. He chronicles the three days during which the country grieved and despaired as never before, and a new president hammered out the policies that would galvanize a country in mourning and win the Second World War.

The Hidden White House

Author: Robert Klara
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1250022932
Format: PDF
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Now including an excerpt from THE DEVIL'S MERCEDES: The Bizarre and Disturbing Adventures of Hitler's Limousine in America by Robert Klara. Coming March 2017. Critically acclaimed author Robert Klara leads readers through an unmatched tale of political ambition and technical skill: the Truman administration's controversial rebuilding of the White House. In 1948, President Harry Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House's second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room into a tea party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. A handpicked team of the country's top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history. While the Trumans camped across the street at Blair House, Congress debated whether to bulldoze the White House completely, and the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb, starting the Cold War. Indefatigable researcher Robert Klara reveals what has, until now, been little understood about this episode: America's most famous historic home was basically demolished, giving birth to today's White House. Leaving only the mansion's facade untouched, workmen gutted everything within, replacing it with a steel frame and a complex labyrinth deep below ground that soon came to include a top-secret nuclear fallout shelter, The story of Truman's rebuilding of the White House is a snapshot of postwar America and its first Cold War leader, undertaking a job that changed the centerpiece of the country's national heritage. The job was by no means perfect, but it was remarkable—and, until now, all but forgotten.

Sex on the Moon

Author: Ben Mezrich
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 0385533934
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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From the bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, this is the incredible true story of how a college student and two female accomplices stole some of the rarest objects on the planet—moon rocks—from an "impregnable" high-tech vault. But breaking into a highly secure laboratory wasn't easy. Thad Roberts, an intern in a prestigious NASA training program, would have to concoct a meticulous plan to get past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways even before he could get his hands on the 600-pound safe. And then how was he supposed to get it out? And what does one do with an item so valuable that it's illegal even to own? With his signature high-velocity style, Mezrich reconstructs the outlandish heist and tells a story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.

Supercharged Mercedes In Detail

Author: James Taylor
Publisher: Herridge & Sons Limited
ISBN: 9781906133481
Format: PDF, Docs
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Among the rarest and most exciting classic cars are the supercharged Mercedes cars of the 1920s and 1930s, exemplified by the fire-breathing S, SS, SSK and SSKL models with their supercharged 7-litre engines, and their exceedingly glamorous, though softer and less stark, 500K and 540K cars which succeeded them in the mid-1930s. All of the models, going back to 1923 and on to the construction of the last mighty 770K in 1942, and the long, pioneering history of supercharging by Mercedes, are described here, including the cars designed by Ferdinand Porsche between 1924 and 1928 and the road-racing exploits of star drivers like Rudolf Carracciola. With 100 color photographs of surviving examples, and 150 black-and-white pictures from the archives, Supercharged Mercedes in Detail describes all about a remarkable family of motor cars, rarely ever seen yet universally admired.

Real Frank Zappa Book

Author: Frank Zappa
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0671705725
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Recounts the life and career of the inventive and controversial rock musician, and includes information on his philosophies on art, his opinions on the music industry, and his thoughts on raising children.

Church of Spies

Author: Mark Riebling
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465061559
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The Vatican's silence in the face of Nazi atrocities remains one of the great controversies of our time. History has accused wartime pontiff Pius the Twelfth of complicity in the Holocaust and dubbed him “Hitler's Pope.” But a key part of the story has remained untold. Pius ran the world's largest church, smallest state, and oldest spy service. Saintly but secretive, he skimmed from church charities to pay covert couriers, and surreptitiously tape-recorded his meetings with top Nazis. When he learned of the Holocaust, Pius played his cards close to his chest. He sent birthday cards to Hitler—while secretly plotting to kill him. Church of Spies documents this cloak and dagger intrigue in shocking detail. Gun-toting Jesuits stole blueprints to Hitler's homes. A Catholic book publisher flew a sports plane over the Alps with secrets filched from the head of Hitler's bodyguard. The keeper of the Vatican crypt ran a spy ring that betrayed German war plans and wounded Hitler in a briefcase bombing. The plotters made history in ways they hardly expected. They inspired European unification, forged a U.S.-Vatican alliance that spanned the Cold War, and challenged Church teachings on Jews. Yet Pius' secret war muted his public response to Nazi crimes. Fearing that overt protest would impede his covert actions, he never spoke the “fiery words” he wanted. Told with heart-pounding suspense, based on secret transcripts and unsealed files, Church of Spies throws open the Vatican's doors to reveal some of the most astonishing events in the history of the papacy. The result is an unprecedented book that will change perceptions of how the world's greatest moral institution met the greatest moral crisis in history.

After the Reich

Author: Giles MacDonogh
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465006205
Format: PDF
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When Hitler’s government collapsed in 1945, Germany was immediately divided up under the control of the Allied Powers and the Soviets. A nation in tatters, in many places literally flattened by bombs, was suddenly subjected to brutal occupation by vengeful victors. According to recent estimates, as many as two million German women were raped by Soviet occupiers. General Eisenhower denied the Germans access to any foreign aid, meaning that German civilians were forced to subsist on about 1,200 calories a day. (American officials privately acknowledged at the time that the death rate amongst adults had risen to four times the pre-war levels; child mortality had increased tenfold). With the authorization of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, over four million Germans were impressed into forced labor. General George S. Patton was so disgusted by American policy in post-war Germany that he commented in his diary, “It is amusing to recall that we fought the revolution in defense of the rights of man and the civil war to abolish slavery and have now gone back on both principles" Although an astonishing 2.5 million ordinary Germans were killed in the post-Reich era, few know of this traumatic history. There has been an unspoken understanding amongst historians that the Germans effectively got what they deserved as perpetrators of the Holocaust. First ashamed of their national humiliation at the hands of the Allies and Soviets, and later ashamed of the horrors of the Holocaust, Germans too have remained largely silent – a silence W.G. Sebald movingly described in his controversial book On the Natural History of Destruction. In After the Reich, Giles MacDonogh has written a comprehensive history of Germany and Austria in the postwar period, drawing on a vast array of contemporary first-person accounts of the period. In doing so, he has finally given a voice the millions of who, lucky to survive the war, found themselves struggling to survive a hellish “peace.” A startling account of a massive and brutal military occupation, After the Reich is a major work of history of history with obvious relevance today.

A Serpent s Tale

Author: Lorett Treese
Publisher:
ISBN: 9781594162633
Format: PDF, Mobi
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When American settlers first crossed the Appalachian Mountains they were amazed to discover that the wilderness beyond contained ancient ruins large man-made mounds and enclosures, and impressive earthen sculptures, such as a gigantic serpent. Reports trickled back to the eager ears of President Thomas Jefferson and others. However, most did not believe these earthworks had anything to do with Native Americans; rather, given the intense interest in the history of Western Civilization at the time, it became popular to speculate that the ruins had been built by refugees from Greece, Rome, Egypt or even the lost continent of Atlantis. As Lorett Treese explains in her fascinating history "A Serpent s Tale: Discovering America s Ancient Mound Builders," the enigmatic nature of these antiquities fueled both fanciful claims and scientific inquiry. Early on, the earthworks began to fall to agricultural and urban development. Realizing that only careful on-site investigation could reveal the mysteries of the mounds, scholars hastened to document and classify them, giving rise to American archaeology as a discipline."