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The Master Plan


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Acclaimed science writer Heather Pringle uncovers the true story of the scientists and archaeologists Heinrich Himmler deployed to find proof for his theories of a prehistoric Aryan master race. A cinematic account of the basis for one of the most terrifying theories in history. Major review and feature coverage anticipated Competition: Simon Winchester; Deborah Cadbury; Michael Frayn; Michael Burleigh

About the Author

Heather Pringle is a journalist and author who has written on archaeology and ancient cultures in numerous magazines including Discover, National Geographic Traveler, New Scientist, Science and Geo. In January 2002, she won the American Association for the Advancement of Science award for Magazine Journalism. She is the author fo three books, including THE MUMMY CONGRESS. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.


Considering the thousands of volumes covering every aspect of the Nazis, it's becoming increasingly difficult to say anything new about their dreadful era. Nevertheless, Pringle (The Mummy Congress), a contributing editor to Discover magazine, gamely steps up to the plate-and has produced a fascinating volume detailing the Nazis' crackpot theories about prehistory and the Indiana Jones-style lengths they went to prove them. Employing a team of researchers, Pringle investigates Heinrich Himmler's private think tank, the Ahnenerbe, which dispatched scholars to the most inhospitable and distant parts of the world to discover evidence of ancient Aryan conquests and the Germans' racial superiority. Some believed their own bizarre garbage; others perverted the facts for personal advancement or prostituted their reputations for the greater glory of Hitler. While it would be otherwise easy to laugh off the Ahnenerbe's ludicrous theories, Pringle argues that the institute provided the "academic" justification for the Holocaust and assembles a powerful body of evidence to that effect. Though one may wonder just how central the Ahnenerbe actually was to Hitler's thinking, when Pringle meets one of the most sinister of Himmler's scholars, his pride about the institute's "research" is distinctly disquieting. This is first-rate popular history-supported by an immense amount of scholarly apparatus in a range of languages. (Feb. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'This is an exceptional piece of work, for those with a very deep interest in the intellectual structures of tyranny, in Heinrich Himmler, in how monsters work. Dictators always have theories, and always find scholars to prove them. THE MASTER PLAN is the detailed history of one such effort, but it sheds abundant light on all of them.' Alan Furst Praise for THE MUMMY CONGRESS: 'Guaranteed to fascinate and entertain.' Anthony Sattin, The Sunday Times 'The Mummy Congress is wide ranging in every sense. Heather Pringle's lively prose takes us across the centuries, across the globe, and across scientific disciplines ! Enthralling.' Jonathan Sale, Independent 'Heather Pringle takes care to tell you the icky things you really wanted to know, while eloquently touring the world of present-day mummy studies.' Francis Spufford, Evening Standard

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