|About the Book|
When Heinz L?ning posed as a Jewish refugee to spy for Hitlers Abwehr espionage agency, he thought he had discovered the perfect solution to his most pressing problem: how to avoid being drafted into Hitlers army. L?ning was unsympathetic toMoreWhen Heinz L?ning posed as a Jewish refugee to spy for Hitlers Abwehr espionage agency, he thought he had discovered the perfect solution to his most pressing problem: how to avoid being drafted into Hitlers army. L?ning was unsympathetic to Fascist ideology, but the Nazis tight control over exit visas gave him no chance to escape Germany. He could enter Hitlers army either as a soldier... or a spy. In 1941, he entered the Abwehr academy for spy training and was given the code name Lumann. Soon after, L?ning began the service in Cuba that led to his ultimate fate of being the only German spy executed in Latin America during World War II. L?ning was not the only spy operating in Cuba at the time. Various Allied spies labored in Havana- the FBI controlled eighteen Special Intelligence Service operatives, and the British counterintelligence section subchief Graham Greene supervised Secret Intelligence Service agents- and Ernest Hemingways private agents supplied inflated and inaccurate information about submarines and spies to the U.S. ambassador, Spruille Braden. L?ning stumbled into this milieu of heightened suspicion and intrigue. Poorly trained and awkward at his work, he gathered little information worth reporting, was unable to build a working radio and improperly mixed the formulas for his secret inks. L?ning eventually was discovered by British postal censors and unwittingly provided the inspiration for Graham Greenes Our Man in Havana. In chronicling L?nings unlikely trajectory from a troubled life in Germany to a Caribbean firing squad, Thomas D. Schoonover makes brilliant use of untapped documentary sources to reveal the workings of the famed Abwehr and the technical and social aspects of L?nings spycraft. Using archival sources from three continents, Schoonover offers a narrative rich in atmospheric details to reveal the political upheavals of the time, not only tracking L?nings activities but also explaining the broader trends in the region and in local counterespionage. Schoonover argues that ambitious Cuban and U.S. officials turned L?nings capture into a grand victory. For at least five months after L?nings arrest, U.S. and Cuban leaders -- J. Edgar Hoover, Fulgencio Batista, Nelson Rockefeller, General Manuel Ben?tez, Ambassador Spruille Braden, and others -- treated L?ning as a dangerous, key figure for a Nazi espionage network in the Gulf-Caribbean. They reworked his image from low-level bumbler to master spy, using his capture for their own political gain. In the sixty years since L?nings execution, very little has been written about Nazi espionage in Latin America, partly due to the reticence of the U.S. government. Revealing these new historical sources for the first time, Schoonover tells a gripping story of L?nings life and capture, suggesting that L?ning was everyones man in Havana but his own.