Thursday, April 28, 2016
Seelendinder - James McNeish writes of the Olympian who defied Hitler
An Olympic athlete has been enlisted to expose Hitler and his war aims.
This is during the 1936 Berlin Games, the notorious summer festival designed to persuade the free world that the leader of Nazi Germany is a man of peace. Werner Seelenbinder’s mission is an unknown story; the defiance and courage of the only Olympian in the resistance, subsequently concealed by the Americans in the Cold War and blotted out in modern postwar Germany.
All the characters in Seelenbinder are real; all the main events described did happen. But amid the preparations for the coup and its nightmarish end, there unfolds a riddle of fact versus fiction: when you are a novelist telling a story of mythical dimension, where do you draw the line?
“Seelenbinder is a triumph: scintillating, suspenseful and revelatory in its disclosure of the malign mix between politics and sport which marked the ’36 Olympics. It is also a superb, indeed seamless, merging of the fictional and non-fictional, in such a way as to make that distinction redundant. We are at one with the author as he attempts to solve an 80-year-old mystery. McNeish is a consummate story-teller and Seelenbinder is a minor masterpiece.” — Martin Edmond
Steele Roberts - $34.95