I’ve just finished reading: Selling Hitler by Robert Harris (1986)

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I read this back in the early 90s and absolutely loved it. Recently I decided I wanted to read it again so found a 2nd hand copy. I’d forgotten how surreal it was.

It reads like fiction. If that fiction was so implausible, unbelievable and absurd. Selling Hitler tells the tale of the faked Hitler Diaries in the early 80s and the greed & gullibility of an awful lot of people who should’ve known better.

It was the biggest publishing fraud where reputations were ruined, people jailed, money stolen, and we’re introduced to Rupert Murdoch – new proprietor of The Sunday Times who offered millions for the serial rights upon a quick skim of one of the diaries. It was also known as one of the most famous cases of cheque book journalism. Facts didn’t matter to Murdoch, only the serial rights. Upon learning of the dubiousness of the diaries authenticity, in a last ditch attempt by The Sunday Times staff to halt publication, Murdoch still ordered the go ahead to print.

This is an absorbing read, with a fast pace equal to a cold war thriller, involving (supposed) deals with shadowy figures across the border into East Germany, the smuggling of documents, exchange of money etc. I really can’t recommend it enough.

EDIT:

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Yesterday this arrived, it’s a May 1983 Private Eye Diaries special, found on eBay for only a couple of quid!

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