The Faith Middleton Show
1:12 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Authors of Agent Garbo and The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind

Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day
by Stephen Talty

Before he remade himself as the master spy known as Garbo, Juan Pujol was nothing more than a Barcelona poultry farmer. But as Garbo, he turned in a masterpiece of deception that changed the course of World War II. Posing as the Nazis’ only reliable spy inside England, he created an imaginary million-man army, invented armadas out of thin air, and brought a vast network of fictional subagents to life. The scheme culminated on June 6, 1944, when Garbo convinced the Germans that the Allied forces approaching Normandy were just a feint—the real invasion would come at Calais. Because of his brilliant trickery, the Allies were able to land with much less opposition and eventually push on to Berlin.

As incredible as it sounds, everything in Agent Garbo is true, based on years of archival research and interviews with Pujol’s family. This pulse-pounding thriller set in the shadow world of espionage and deception reveals the shocking reality of spycraft that occurs just below the surface of history.

The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind: Hitler, Hess, and the Analysts
by Daniel Pick

An intellectual and cultural history of the encounter between psychology and fascism, The Pursuit of the Nazi Mind draws on neglected archive sources in Britain and the US, as well as literature, film, legal testimony, letters and memoirs, to map the rise and fall of psychoanalytic and psychiatric explanations of the Third Reich, highlighting the clinical ambition to transform mysterious "Nazi monsters" into plausible, individual "case studies." 

Daniel Pick brings both the skills of the historian and the trained psychoanalyst to weave together the story of clinical encounters with leading Nazis and the Allies' broader interpretations of the Nazi high command and the mentality of the wider German public. Following the bizarre capture of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess in 1941, leading British psychiatrists (especially Dr. Henry Dicks) assessed their new charge, in an attempt to understand both the man himself and the psychological bases of his Nazi convictions. Around the same time, Pick reveals, a similar team of American officers (notably Walter Langer) working for the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, were engaged in an attempt to understand Hitler's personality from afar, using the theories and techniques of Sigmund Freud. Pick then weaves together these Allied attempts to understand Hess and Hitler with the wider attempt to understand the pathology of Nazism and its hold over the German people. 

Pick asks what such psychoanalytical and psychiatric investigations set out to do, showing how Freud's famous "talking cure" was harnessed to the particular needs of military intelligence during the war and the post-war reconstruction period. Looking beyond this, he also shows just how deeply post-war Western understandings of how minds work and groups operate were influenced by these wartime attempts to interpret the psychopathology of Nazism.

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