Last Flight to Stalingrad
by Graham Hurley
Berlin, 1942. For four years, the men in field grey have helped themselves to country after country across Western Europe.
For Werner Nehmann, a journalist at the Promi – the Ministry of Propaganda – this dizzying series of victories has felt like a party without end. But now the Reich’s attention has turned towards the East, and as winter sets in, the mood is turning.
Werner’s boss, Joseph Goebbels, can sense it. A small man with a powerful voice and coal-black eyes, Goebbels has a deep understanding of the dark arts of manipulation. His words, his newsreels, have shaken Germany awake, propelling it towards its greater destiny and he won’t let – he can’t let – morale falter now. But the Minister of Propaganda is uneasy and in his discomfort has pulled Werner into his close confidence.
And here, amid the power struggle between the Nazi Chieftains, Werner will make his mistake and begin his descent into the hell of Stalingrad…
It’s 1940 and the war is going well for Hitler who is staging a triumphant parade through Berlin, flowers and supporters lining his route. Recent victorious have seen much of Europe fall with Italy and Britain expected to soon follow. Could the Battle of Stalingrad signal a change in fortune?
If the propaganda coming out of Promi (the Ministry of Propaganda) is to be believed then Germany is destroying its enemy. Werner Nehmann, a talented journalist at the Promi in Berlin, works directly under Joseph Goebbels, the man ultimately responsible for the words and, the increasingly important, images that are put out as evidence of success. Clever editing of the latest footage, with music and words added, can certainly frame a story. But what of the reality?
Georg Messner, a pilot at the heart of the action, like Nehmann, takes a more realistic view of German prospects on the Eastern Front, where the SS is committing horrendous atrocities on Soviet civilians, whilst struggling to survive. And we are not yet in winter!
Last Flight to Stalingrad is the 5th in Hurley’s Spoils of War series, but you don’t need to have read the earlier books. The standalone story is, unusually for me, told from a German perspective, and it feels very well researched. It is dark, brutal and compelling. Certainly recommended if you like WW2 fiction or Philip Kerr’s popular Bernie Gunther thrillers.
About the Author
Graham Hurley is the author of the acclaimed Faraday and Winter crime novels.
He is also an award-winning TV documentary maker.
The first in the Spoils of War series, Finisterre, was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.