This is more than just the story of how newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch, renowned historian Hugh Trevor-Roper and the editors of one of West Germany's leading magazines, Stern, were taken in by a crude forgery, by humdrum chronicles written on postwar paper by a petty crook and passed off as the diaries of Adolf Hitler.
It is also a depressing but fascinating account of how the traffic in Hitler and Nazi memorabilia has become big business in both the United States and Europe.
In this book, we travel through a strange world, where rich American businessmen are paying ever-higher prices for Hitler's undistinguished water colors, where Hermann Goering's yacht is reconditioned at vast expense and put on public display, where a supposedly respectable investigative journalist comes to believe incredible stories that Martin Bormann is still alive and where forgeries of Nazi relics command thousands of dollars.
It is truly bizarre that a Maryland military surplus dealer would sell locks of Eva Braun's hair for $3,500 and that such items as Heinrich Himmler's glasses and a tablecloth that once belonged to the commandant of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp would fetch good prices. Yet it is part and parcel of the morbid fascination that many still feel for Hitler.