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  • Hodder & Stoughton

Unsung Heroes: The Twentieth Century's Forgotton History-Makers

Erik Durschmied

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, History, General & world history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Warfare & defence

Bestselling author Erik Durschmied turns his acute eye for detail to those who have shaped history - yet their names are not known to most of us. They are the 'unsung heroes'.

There are instances of heroic deeds that had no immediate witness, such as the Scholls's attempt in 1943 to raise their nation's conscience, suppressed by Hitler's propaganda machine. The Canadian physicist Dr. Slotin acted in 1946; but since 'the bomb' was supposed to be fail-safe, his feat was not released to the public. A KGB commissar gagged Captain Marinesco in 1945, just as Moscow's rulers silently did away with Colonel Maleter in 1956 as a hindrance for their political ambition. In the case of Parteigenosse Duckwitz in 1943, nobody discovered that he was behind the betrayal of the Nazi plan, and he wouldn't publicise his disloyalty to his F hrer. It took faith and courage for a Palermo priest to go up against the Sicilian Mafia in 1993. Holding out against impossible odds was a Yankee pilot in a clapped-out aircraft in 1941, and a British battalion against an entire army in Korea 1951. And there is the sergeant who in 1916 blundered into an 'impregnable fortress' and then took it single-handedly.

These are a few brave man and women who dared to stand up and be counted. Some had to pay a bitter price for remaining loyal to their principles, but all of them changed the course of history.

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Praise for Unsung Heroes: The Twentieth Century's Forgotton History-Makers


  • 'His tales of mayhem and confusion can be gripping, informative and genuinely idea-provoking. He reveals again and again, the casual impact of happenstance.' - Independent

  • Gripping, riveting. Fascinating. Even when you're sure you know what happened and whodunit, Erik Durschmeid provides another twist. - Scotsman

  • An entertaining and fascinating read - Lancashire Evening Post

  • This entertaining book considers the errors and incidents that have shaped the world as we know it rather than as we planned it might be. - The Times


  • 'The Hinges of Battle is more or less a sequel to Durschmied's previous book and is just as readable' - Nicholas Fearn, Independent on Sunday

  • A collection of cracking adventure stories told with infectious enthusiasm, in a book that allows the reader to virtually participate in momentous history-changing events - Waterstone's Books Quarterly

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Erik Durschmied

Erik Durschmied was born in Vienna in 1930. After the Second World War he emigrated to Canada. A television war correspondent for the BBC and CBS, Durschmied covered every major crisis, from Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Belfast, Beirut, Chile, to Cuba and Afghanistan. Winner of numerous awards, Newsweek wrote 'Durschmied is a supremely gifted reporter who has transformed the media he works in.' And in Le Monde: 'He's survived more battles than any living general.' Erik has just been appointed Professor of Military History at The Military Academy of Austria. He lives in Paris and Provence with his family.

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