League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

I’m a little busy this morning, dear readers; gotta put together an advertising promo for our October ish and finish laying out the 50-page guide for our annual conference. Also, I’m hoping to finish a slightly longer post tonight called Tabloid Dreams and the Plastic People of the Universe (which isn’t about Robert Olen Butler or Czech rock music).

So you get a couple of items from the Official Newspaper of Gil Roth:

First, Adam Kirsch reviews Mark Mazower’s book Hitler’s Empire, which chronicles Hitler’s plans for the Nazi empire’s expansion. His thesis? The holocaust was just a warm-up:

[T]here is every reason to believe that the techniques the Nazis perfected in the Holocaust would have been used, in the event of a German victory, to clear all of Eastern Europe for German settlement. Poles and Ukrainians who eagerly assisted in killing Jews in 1941-2 began to realize, as the war stretched on, that their turn might be next. Mr. Mazower quotes one German officer in Poland who explained that the Polish resistance was fueled by the Poles’ belief that the Holocaust offered “an atrocious picture of their own destiny.” Reinhard Heydrich, the SS ruler of what had been Czechoslovakia, spoke of sending millions of Czechs to Siberia — a clear echo of the euphemism used for the Jewish genocide, “resettlement in the East.”

Second, on a lighter-hearted note, today’s NYSun also has a review by Robert Winder of Jennet Conant’s new book, The Irregulars. Evidently, during WWII, there was a British spy ring operating in the U.S., and its members included Ian Fleming, C.S. Forester, Isaiah Berlin, Noël Coward, David Ogilvy (of Ogilvy + Mathers), and Roald Dahl. Ms. Conant’s book tell’s Dahl’s story as an Irregular, and it sounds like a blast:

He was handsome, tall (6-foot-5), witty, flirtatious, and a wounded British flying ace — an alluring combination that made him a dashing addition to the social scene . . . There was a good deal of top-grade tittle-tattle available to such a man, and Dahl took faithful notes and palmed them, with discreet skill, to his superiors. He gathered information on American isolationists and business lobbyists who wanted to keep America out of the war (and who argued that God could save the King if he so desired), and helped smear them as Nazi sympathizers. He even passed on reports of American plans to put a man on the moon, which were roundly laughed at in London.

All of Dahl’s derring-do, seductions and cloak-and-dagger play have to be seen in the context of that review of Hitler’s Empire. In fact, Kirsch’s review dominates the front page of today’s Arts+ section, with Ms. Conant’s book running alongside it, sans graphic. Now get to readin’!

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