Book Review: The Nazi Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch (2022)

Synopsis: In 1943, US President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin finally agreed to meet in person to discuss the ongoing war against Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime. Despite their secrecy, the Nazis found out about the meeting and devised an assassination plan. This non-fiction book discusses the events leading up to that meeting and the spy networks involved on both sides.

Review: I like picking out random books at our local library, but this has been a bit hit-or-miss with me lately with a good chunk of the books being returned almost immediately because I lost interest after a couple chapters. That's why, when I picked out this book a couple weeks ago, my expectations were tempered.

However, after finishing the book last night, I have to say it ended up being a lot more interesting than I was expecting.

I think the thing I like most about this book is it really tells a couple different stories. The first one, regarding the Nazi plot to assassinate the three allied leaders was intriguing, especially since the Nazi spy network seemed almost haphazard at times. Even the location of the meeting, Iran, was pure luck for the Nazis because it was one of the very few places the meeting could have occurred that would give them an opportunity.

The more intriguing story, however, was how that meeting ended up happening in the first place. I think a lot of history books gloss over the mistrust between those three allied leaders and this book does a great job demonstrating that in a way that makes it easy to understand how World War II immediately transitioned into the Cold War.

In particular, it was interesting how Roosevelt had to act a bit like a mediator between the other two leaders and was even willing to damage his friendship with Churchill by sitting down one-on-one with Stalin if needed. It made me wonder what would have happened had Roosevelt not been able to keep some sort of semblance of peace between the other two and Russia had decided to pursue a peace treaty with Germany on their own.

In addition, the book also shares some intriguing stories from the other side of the lines. The part of the book describing a daring rescue mission to retrieve the imprisoned Benito Mussolini was so intriguing, I ended up reading it twice.

I also liked how the book gave some life to the three allied leaders. A lot of books focus just on basic details and a summary of what happened. This book made me feel as though I was there at times, especially early on, when it described Roosevelt rising from his wheelchair and walking to the podium when asking Congress to declare war on Japan. It honestly made me gain a whole new level of respect for a man that died 30 years before I was born.

Final Opinion: This book not only focuses on a pivotal moment that could have changed history, but it also gives the reader a great insight into the men who led the Allied nations to victory despite their differences and shares details of the war that don't get shared enough. It's worth taking the time to read.

My Grade: A


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