Moe Berg : Athlete, Scholar, Spy by Louis Kaufman, Barbara Fitzgerald and Tom Sewell
Boston : Little, Brown and Co., 1974. Book club edition. Hardcover. 274 pages ; photographic illustrations ; 22 cm. Edge wear and a large tear to dust jacket. Lite cigarette odor to pages. Unmarked. Binding firm.
Moe Berg unmasks the most amazing American spy who ever lived — the remarkable scholar-athlete who was a major league baseball player, spoke a dozen languages fluently, and became our country's premier atomic spy in World War II. This is the first biography of his life.
Moe Berg brings us face to face with the Boston Red Sox catcher who filled his hotel rooms with the newspapers of many nations and who, at the height of World War II, was assigned the crucial role in the most dangerous race in the history of warfare: to find out how close Hitler's scientific corps was to perfecting the atomic bomb. Not even Vice-President Harry S. Truman was aware of this fateful struggle or Berg's involvement in it.
After years of research in the United States and abroad, authors Kaufman, Fitzgerald, and Sewell brilliantly capture the minute-by-minute suspense of Berg's mission. The reader joins him in his search to pinpoint and uncover the progress of Hitler's scientists hidden at Bisingen, the Nazis' 1 'Oak Ridge" deep in the Black Forest. We follow the catcher through the spy-infested cities of wartime Switzerland. And we are there on the morning when, disguised as a Swiss graduate student, Berg sat in the front row at a lecture given by Germany's foremost atomic physicist, Werner Heisenberg — with orders to assassinate Heisenberg on the spot if the great scientist suggested his participation in creating atomic weapons for Hitler!
Moe Berg contains fascinating disclosures of Berg's other espionage coups: — his secret movies of Tokyo's skyline, which served as aerial maps for massive American bomber raids;,
— his chase across Italy, one step ahead of the SS, to find Dr. Antonio Ferri, aeronautical expert on super-sonic flight, a drama that prompted President Roosevelt to comment, "I see Berg is still catching pretty well";
— his impersonation of a member of Berlin's General Staff and his "official" inspection tour of the secret Galileo munitions plant in Italy;
— his espionage carried out even in his Red Sox uniform, during an extraordinary incident at Yankee Stadium.
Moe Berg also gives us our first close look at the Newark prodigy who developed two unbreakable habits as he grew up — playing baseball and learning languages. After graduating from Princeton, Morris Berg joined the major leagues, where his wit and intelligence made him one of the most popular sportsmen of his day; a scholar who loved to baffle sportswriters with deadpanned lectures on Hindu dialects. But Berg's life away from the diamond was a mystery, and now for the first time, we find out why.
Moe Berg is filled not only with the colorful, humorous personalities of big league baseball in the twenties and thirties, but also with hundreds of people — famous and unknown, from diplomats to newsboys — who met and liked this charming, elusive man. Through their anecdotes, as well as the authors' extensive research, we have at last a stirring, authentic portrait of this truly unique "athlete, scholar, spy."
Louis Kaufman is a veteran newspaperman, now a staff reporter for the Boston Globe. Previously, he was a reporter for the Providence Journal and the El Paso Herald-Post. Kaufman, who holds a degree in journalism from Suffolk University, has covered numerous major stories during his career, many of them dealing with the government. Before joining the Globe staff, he was a political speech writer for gub^sjjatorial and congressional candidates.
Miss Fitzgerald has been a schoolteacher New Hampshire, New York, and in Rhode Island. She has written feature articles for various publications, including the Providence Journal, and has reviewed many books. An amateur artist, whose work has been exhibited, Miss Fitzgerald is a graduate of Middlebury College.
Tom Sewell was a political reporter for the Boston Herald-Traveler. During his ten years on that newspaper, he covered many important political and news developments. He studied journalism at Mexico City College.
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