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Kurt Waldheim’s Past

Gitta Sereny, 21 April 1988

by Luc Rosenzweig and Bernard Cohen.
Robson, 192 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 86051 506 0
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Waldheim: The Missing Years 
by Robert Edwin Herzstein.
Grafton, 303 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 246 13381 3
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... A very disturbing thing has happened to journalism, to the writing of history, and even to justice. In anything to do with the Nazis, whose doings continue to preoccupy us 45 years on, any attempt at detachment is considered suspect, any degree of objectivity reprehensible. Somewhat obsessed with the subject myself, I have a good deal of personal experience of this phenomenon ...

‘I’m trying for you’

A.L. Kennedy: Gitta Sereny, 18 June 1998

Cries Unheard 
by Gitta Sereny.
Macmillan, 393 pp., £20, May 1998, 0 333 73524 2
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... of help that would keep them and their potential victims safe. This is the backdrop against which Gitta Sereny’s book is set. Sereny is also the author of The Case of Mary Bell (1972), which, as its title suggests, is specifically concerned with the details of the murders and the 1968 trial. Cries Unheard, we are ...

Didn’t he do well?

Richard Overy, 21 September 1995

Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth 
by Gitta Sereny.
Macmillan, 757 pp., £25, September 1995, 0 333 64519 7
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... powerful expression of his prison existence. It was the second of these books that attracted Gitta Sereny to the Speer phenomenon. She sensed in him an inexpressible sadness. When in the course of her work as a journalist in the late Seventies their paths crossed, she began a series of conversations with Speer which lasted three years. They grew to ...

Favourite without Portfolio

Jonathan Meades: Designs for the Third Reich, 4 February 2016

Hitler at Home 
by Despina Stratigakos.
Yale, 373 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 300 18381 8
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Speer: Hitler’s Architect 
by Martin Kitchen.
Yale, 442 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 0 300 19044 1
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... up for the missing airplanes and tanks with phoney statistical fairy tales.’ Joachim Fest and Gitta Sereny were less willing to see through him. Fest deliberately overlooked material that was presented to him because it failed to accord with his conception of his subject. Sereny was unhappily predisposed to believe ...

The Cult of Celebrity

Jacqueline Rose, 20 August 1998

... Even Andrew O’Hagan’s powerful defence of Bell in the Guardian against what he saw as Sereny’s ethical blindness and manipulations, made Bell’s own manipulativeness a central part of his case, something Sereny should have been protecting her from: ‘Mary Bell is still a very confused and hurt and ...

Boxes of Tissues

Hilary Mantel, 6 March 1997

As If 
by Blake Morrison.
Granta, 245 pp., £14.99, February 1997, 1 86207 003 2
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... is getting worse ... And they do say it. It is natural to compare Blake Morrison’s book with Gitta Sereny’s book, The Cast of Mary Bell, reissued by Pimlico, with a new Preface by the author and an Appendix about the Bulger murder. Mary Bell and Norma Bell – neighbours, but not related – were girls of 11 and 13, tried in 1968 for the killing ...

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