|Cassowary Press; March 1st 2013|
“Contrary to what the so-called history books tell you, Hermann Goering, Hitler's Deputy, Head of the Luftwaffe and second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, did not leave this world courtesy of a cyanide tablet secreted in the heel of his jackboot minutes before his appointment with the hangman. The truth is far more bizarre. THE UNSINKABLE HERR GOERING is a monumental debut novel by Ian Cassidy. It follows Goering, a man blindsided by hubris, on his attempted escape - from both Germany as well as from the Allies - and the inept men of mettle who put a stop to it. It is a hilariously depraved story of villainous villains, slightly less villainous heroes, bad behaviour (and even worse beer), and uncomfortable underwear. Not since A Confederacy of Dunces has a book brought to life such audaciously flawed characters. It gets so much wrong, yet so much right.”
Please welcome the author Ian Cassidy with the following piece about his book:
The name Herman Goering conjures up images of excess, gluttony, greed, red-faced spluttering rage, art theft and complicity in the most unspeakable atrocities. What is less well known is that he had an embarrassing secret.
The extensive research I did for my novel The Unsinkable Herr Goering, combined with a few educated guesses, a few more minor flights of fancy and even more leaps of imagination, led me to the shocking discovery that Herman Goering—Hitler’s deputy, Reich Marshal of Germany and Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe—was a transvestite.
Unearthing this previously overlooked, if largely irrelevant piece of information set me on the path to further remarkable discoveries. By the same methods of detailed research, informed guesswork, wild speculation and brazen fabrication, I discovered that the Herman Goering who gave evidence at Nuremberg, the man who came so close to outwitting Chief Justice Jackson and derailing the entire process was in fact an impostor, an actor substituted by the Allies. That is because the real Herman Goering was lying in a watery grave following a fateful meeting with a dodgy house painter from Birmingham and a fatal encounter with the Royal Navy off the coast of Gibraltar.
Herman Goering did not take his own life minutes before his appointment with Master Sergeant John Woods and no-one died in that cell. The impostor slipped quietly away to obscurity, and for the first time the extraordinary ‘real’ events leading up to Goering’s death are related in my novel.
The Unsinkable Herr Goering is a monumental historical comedy, and whilst I play fast and loose with some of the facts, others are presented with scrupulous accuracy. The details about Von Stauffenberg’s attempt on Hitler’s life are accurate as are the details about the city of Lichfield in the summer of 1944. As the home of the Staffordshire Regiment, Lichfield was a hive of military activity as the Staffords prepared to supplement the Parachute Regiment in linking up with U.S. and Polish forces for the ill-fated airborne assault on the Rhine bridges that culminated in disaster at Arnhem.
There’s some techie stuff in there too. I had to research what sort of light aircraft the head of the Luftwaffe may have flown, and all the technical details relating to that are accurate, including airspeed and range without re-fuelling. The same is true of the sports cars manufactured by Mercedes Benz at the time. I researched the development of the Autobahns, so that when my characters hurtle down the motorway, it was really there and the car was really capable of such speeds. But the research I enjoyed most was that concerning the Nazis predilection for looting major artworks, the parts of my novel concerning the Amber Room, the Sterzing Altar and the career of Hans Van Meegeren are accurate.
The Unsinkable Herr Goering isn't just a comedy. Goering, despite the comic potential in his vast bulk, his outrageous greed, flamboyant dress and penchant for gaudy military decorations, was an evil man and at times the novel reflects this. It has something for everyone—history, sex, travel and boozing, but above all plenty of laughs.
About Ian Cassidy:
Ian Cassidy was born in Staffordshire just as the 'swinging sixties' became the austere, strike-ridden seventies. He went to the Cathedral School in Lichfield, where he still lives. He studied law in London but hated being a barrister so he tried teaching law at a local university. Needless to say he hated that as well and so he tried his hand at string of jobs including painting and decorating, bookmaking, restoring antique furniture & paintings and stocktaking for a beer tap manufacturer.
He now teaches law privately and writes. For more details see www.iancassidy.co.uk
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