The Meinertzhagen Mystery: The Life and Legend of a Colossal Fraud Hardcover – Jan 1 2007
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PRAISE FOR OTHER BOOKS BY BRIAN GARFIELD:
About the Author
. He lives in Studio City, California.
Top Customer Reviews
For instance, Ian Fleming named many people as the inspiration for Bond. But in the reviews here we have the new myth it was only or largely Meinerthagen. This is how it starts or goes. People are not reliable in their memories or much else. Attempts to revise history at a much later date may be scholarship (if done by actual scholars), but lacking the fact of being there or even alive at the time, is almost insurmountable. Then you have in this case a personality with many enemies.
I was in a plane crash, and travelled a great distance to see the reading of the subsequent report. It bore no resemblance to the event as it was experienced by the survivors. Some of the report was clearly wrong, and some of it was probably right. Neither perspective is absolute. We got hugely knocked about and exited the plane in the dark under morphine. But the reconstructors only had the evidence that actually existed to base their conclusions on. On top of that there were several biases inevitably. It is far wiser to believe nothing and draw no conclusions, nor bear false witness when you weren't even there.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Why would a man who was respected as a world class ornithologist, get himself barred from the British Museum for stealing? Was it for the notoriety? Having re-written his diaries (in some cases many times) and destroying all the previous versions, did he want to be caught after his death? Like publicity, being remembered, whether for good or bad, is still being remembered.
Garfield, who admits the man was one of his heroes as a child, spends a lot of time trying to find back-up information to prove RMs tales. But the more his digs, the more his finds that it like digging a hole in the dessert, it buries you. When RM writes that he did so-and-so, Garfield is able to find that not only wasn't he involved, but that RM might not have even been anywhere in the area (much less on the same continent) when the event occurred.
Ian Fleming had written that RM was the archetype for "James Bond". He could not have known how right he was in basing his fictional spy on a real-life falsified spy. The sad part is, had RM just written about his real accomplishments, his story would still be one of an outstanding personality; it just wasn't outstanding enough for him.
Col. Richard Meinertzhagen left a history of heroic deeds so dramatic that he was used as the model for Ian Fleming's 'James Bond.' Or at least it is so rumored. His diaries are full of stories so outrageous that you'd think they have to be made up.
It turns out that most of them now appear to have been made up indeed. The difficulty is to split out what is true from what is false. And then we need look at what historians have reported as fact based on what is now seen to be false. It's enough to make you wonder about all of history.
As far as I know Krueler was the last surviving participant of the 2nd Anglo-Boer War, and possibly the last surviving auxiliary serving with the Germans in East Africa. his description of his initial meeting with Meinertzhagen under the conditions well known to history, and the subsequent information supplied by Krueler (who knew Meinertzhagen until his death in 1967), Garfield's book intrigued me.
After twenty-five years of research on Krueler's information after his death in 1985, and after reading Meinertzhagen's memoirs, and now Garfield's book, I have to conclude that Garfield did a good job of research. In fact, a great job, as Krueler never told me of some of the stories Meinertzhagen wrote about, and he knew him very well.
All in all a great read, and I recommend it.
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