Saturday, March 23, 2013


Andrew Roberts reviews the new biography of the extraordinary John Wheeler-Bennett. An excerpt:

During his next set of travels, he met Pope Pius XI (who he thought spoke many languages badly), Benito Mussolini (whose heart he pronounced to be “of a lighter shade of black”), and Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, who was shortly afterwards assassinated by Austrian Nazis. In the Soviet Union in 1935, he met the Czech playwright Karl Radek shortly before Radek’s murder by the NKVD; later on, he met Leon Trotsky only weeks before his assassination in Mexico in 1940, and Jan Masaryk before his probable murder by Communists in Prague in 1948. It seems as though the Grim Reaper was never far behind a request for an interview from John Wheeler-Bennett.

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