When the Second World War broke out, Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, then 25-years-old, fought enthusiastically for Germany as a cavalry officer. But after discovering Nazi crimes, von Boeselager's patriotism quickly turned to disgust, and he joined a group of conspirators who plotted to kill Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. In this elegant but unflinching memoir, von Boeselager gives voice to the spirit of the small but determined band of men who took a stand against the Third Reich in what culminating in the failed "Valkyrie" plot--one of the most fascinating near misses of twentieth-century history.
About the Author
Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1917, the fifth of nine children. He was raised with a liberal education, strong moral and religious values, and a love of hunting. In 1938, he enlisted and was placed in the cavalry regiment. He rose to the rank of commanding lieutenant, only to join the German resistance in 1941. His participation in Valkyrie went undetected, and he lived to be the last surviving member of the plot. In 2003, France awarded von Boeselager the Legion of Honor. He died on May 1, 2008.
Florence Fehrenbach is the granddaughter of Karl von Wendt, a coconspirator and close friend of Philipp von Boeselager. She and her husband, JErOme Fehrenbach, convinced Boeselager, at the age of eighty-nine, to recount his experience.
“Memorable. . . . This book deserves your time because of its fascinating story, plainly but sharply told, of an individual in an extraordinary situation.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Remarkable. . . . An astonishing memoir. . . . Of real significance to Second World War historians.” —Daily Telegraph (London)
“Boeselager’s book doesn’t tarry in the realm of might-have-been. Instead, it explores reality—the importance of making accessible to future generations the full truth of history.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“An extraordinary memoir. . . . A one-of-a-kind eyewitness account, essential for students of the Third Reich and all champions of freedom against tyranny.” —Booklist
“Celebrates a long-since-vanished generation of scholar-warriors. . . . von Boeselager [was] both intelligent and honourable.” —Daily Mail (London)
“[A] brisk, illuminating description of how one German solider struggled to reconcile his profound religious and moral sensibility with his cavalryman’s patriotic code of honour and thereby became part of this conspiracy.” —Daily Express (London)