Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Book Spotlight: The Prussian Memorandum by Michael & Kathleen McMenamin

Michael & Kathleen McMenamin
Historical Fiction Adventure

Winston Churchill’s adventure-seeking goddaughter, the intrepid Hearst journalist Mattie McGary, sets out in 1934 to expose a major political scandal—a conspiracy between the US Army’s Military Intelligence Division (MID) and Hitler’s Praetorian, the SS, to help the Nazis persecute German Jews.

Churchill alerts Mattie to what he learns from a confidential German source: that the Nazis are working on a new law to strip Jews of their citizenship and forbid them to marry or have sex with Aryans. The year before, Heinrich Himmler’s SS secretly engaged the MID to research racist laws in thirty American states that prohibit sex and marriage between whites and other races. Known as “The Prussian Memorandum”—an actual historic document—radical SS anti-Semites plan to use these racist American laws as a model for their treatment of the Jews.

Aided by a courageous German lawyer, Hanna Raeder, Mattie’s efforts to document the conspiracy take her from Churchill’s country home in England to the corridors of power in Berlin and, along with Churchill, to the canals of Amsterdam where his German source is to provide them with conclusive proof of the conspiracy. Pursued by both agents of Himmler’s Gestapo and American MID agents determined to stop them at all costs, Mattie and Hanna race to expose the shameful secret of The Prussian Memorandum.

In a chilling climax, Mattie and Hanna are arrested and taken to a Gestapo-run concentration camp where they are charged with crimes against the state—Hanna for treason, Mattie for espionage— and scheduled for show trials the next day before The People’s Court. If convicted, the penalty is death by beheading.

Literary Awards and Praise for Mattie McGary’s Adventures with Winston Churchill

Three-Time Grand Prize Winner Fiction, Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Three-Time Thriller/Suspense Book of the Year, ForeWord Reviews

Two-Time Historical Fiction Book of the Year, ForeWord Reviews

Appointment in Prague

“A thrilling historical novel with a no-nonsense heroine is what you’ll find… Wow! This is an action-packed, intense story that brings the reader right into the world of WW II espionage. Well-developed characters, a tough heroine, and great attention to detail.” [The Book Connection review]
“Mattie McGary was easily my favorite character and I loved how the authors made her into a strong female character with a very real personality. So many times strong female characters end up feeling almost unrealistic and that was not the case with Mattie.” [Books for Books review]

The Berghof Betrayal

“Mattie McGary is what every woman wants to be: strong-willed, the ability to take care of herself, and who doesn’t take crap from anyone.” [Goodreads review]

“I’ve read and enjoyed all of the books in this series and I vote this one as the most exciting yet, full of twists and turns and I really cared about what happened to the characters. It was a most believable page-turner right to the very end. I can’t wait for their next book. “[Amazon review]

The Silver Mosaic

“This is a well-written historical novel that stays true to the time period and keeps its historic facts accurate. I really liked how the authors immersed me in the time period right from the first page.” [Amazon review].

“Historical fiction that excels. I immediately became involved with both the characters and plot, which took on a life of their own. I have read much shorter books that seemed far longer than The Silver Mosaic.” [Goodreads review].

The Gemini Agenda

“A thick and rich tale that is impossible to put down, So many twists and turns and the ending is gripping…This book holds its own with the best historical fiction.” [Goodreads review]


Amazon → https://amzn.to/2BhPctO

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/3ibS5wY

Chapter One

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT finished stirring an ice-filled pitcher of martinis in the Oval Office and placed it back on the drinks trolley beside his custom made wheel chair. It was of minimalist design—a plain, straight back wooden chair with no arms or legs placed on a base between two large rigid black spoke wheels. Behind the seat were two smaller spoke wheels that turned 360 degrees so that the chair could go in any direction the polio-crippled Roosevelt desired. The two large wheels did not extend above the chair’s seat so that the overall effect of the chair was not to draw attention to itself, but rather to its occupant whose massive chest and broad shoulders conveyed an image of strength, not weakness, and belied his shriveled legs below the wheels.
Roosevelt carefully poured the icy liquid from the pitcher into two stemmed glasses and, after popping an olive into each, handed one to the man who sat in a maroon leather club chair on the other side of the drinks trolley. He raised his glass. “Well Louie, to our good health and the consternation of our enemies.”
Louis Howe lifted his glass and lightly touched it to the other extended glass. Howe was Roosevelt’s right hand man—Secretary to the President—and had been FDR’s fixer while he was governor of New York as well as his unofficial campaign manager both for the nomination and general election in 1932. In contrast to Roosevelt who had a handsome face topped by wavy silver brown hair, Howe was short, dark and ugly with large, bulging, bloodshot eyes and an emaciated frame. Roosevelt thought he looked like death warmed over. Still, he was the most astute political operative Roosevelt had ever known and the President was going to ride him as hard as he could until his health—and luck—ran out. He only hoped that Howe would last until his re-election campaign in 1936.
“Speaking of enemies, Louie,” Roosevelt continued, “what did J. Edgar say he wanted to discuss with me in our meeting tomorrow morning?”
“Beats me, Boss,” Howe replied after taking a sip of his martini. “All he said was that it involved ‘intelligence matters’ that would be an embarrassment to the country, to your administration and to you personally if it ever became public knowledge.”
“Interesting. Do you suppose he’s going to try and blackmail me again about Lucy?”
“Not a chance, Frank. You remember when, after your election, he showed me photographs of Mrs. Rutherford entering your private railcar in Chicago while you were there to accept the nomination and I told him it would be most unwise were he to make them public?” Howe asked, referring to Lucy Mercer Rutherford who had been Roosevelt’s long time mistress both before he contracted polio and after she married the aging socialite Winthrop Rutherford. Howe had arranged to have her there in the railcar in Chicago as a reward for Roosevelt when he returned from giving his acceptance speech at the convention.
“Of course,” Roosevelt replied and took a sip of his martini.
“I don’t believe I mentioned this to you at the time, but that goddamned little fairy actually blushed when I showed him our photographs of him with Clyde Tolson’ cock in his mouth,” Howe continued, Tolson being Hoover’s #2 man at the FBI with whom he lived. “So, don’t worry, whatever he wants to talk about tomorrow, all he’s doing is sucking up to you—pardon the expression—and trying to get on your good side.”
Roosevelt laughed and drained the rest of his martini. “I would have loved to have been there to see that. Remind me, is that the photo where he’s wearing a woman’s frilly dress?”
Howe shook his head and finished his martini also. “Nope, he doesn’t know we have that one.”
Roosevelt laughed again. “Well, it’s good to know we have something in reserve if what he’s going to tell us tomorrow is going to embarrass me and my administration. Another martini?”
Howe nodded and placed his stemmed glass back on the drinks trolley. Roosevelt stirred the martini pitcher again and once more filled their glasses.

The White House
Washington, D.C
Thursday, 5 October 1933

ROOSEVELT WATCHED the FBI Director walk across the carpet in the Oval Office, followed by Louis Howe, until he reached the President’s desk. Dressed in an immaculate Brooks Brothers suit, he thought the short, stocky man’s face really did resemble a bulldog. “Edgar! How good to see you again,” he boomed in a loud voice and extended his hand.
Hoover grasped it. “Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Mr. President, but I thought this was of such importance that it could not wait.”
“Take a load off your feet, Edgar, and tell me all about it,” Roosevelt said and placed a cigarette in a silver holder and lit it.
Hoover took a seat in one of two straight-backed armchairs in front of the President’s desk and Howe sat in the other. Hoover frowned and glanced disapprovingly at Howe.
“This is a most sensitive matter, Mr. President.”
Roosevelt laughed. “Don’t worry about Louie, Edgar. He knows everything.”
“Very well, Mr. President, you’re the boss.”
Yes, I am, Roosevelt thought, and don’t you forget it.
Hoover took out a slim folder from his briefcase and began to talk. “This is based on interviews my agents have had with the commanding officer of the US Army’s Military Intelligence Division (MID) Major General Leonard Marlborough, his immediate predecessor Brigadier General Ralph Van Deman, the Harvard Law School Dean Roscoe Pound…”
“Roscoe?” Roosevelt said, interrupting. “The devil you say! How is the old rascal?”
“He’s fine, Mr. President. He was most cooperative. We also have had interviews with six former MID agents, all lawyers, who were selected by Dean Pound to perform under his supervision certain legal research for a foreign power.”
“A foreign power, eh? Which one?”
“Nazi Germany, Sir.”
“The Nazis? Really? You have my attention, Edgar. Let’s hear it from the beginning.”
“Well, Sir, it began with information from a wiretap of General Leonard Marlborough’s office and home telephone lines. Based on that, I ordered an investigative file opened and sent Special Agents into the field for interviews with all involved.”
Roosevelt was surprised at this, but said nothing. Was the sonofabitch tapping White House phone lines as well? He made a mental note to have Louie find out. If he was, then it was time they showed the little bastard the photo of him in a woman’s dress. Meanwhile, the President listened with growing horror as Hoover told his story in a dull, dry-as-dust monotone.
“In June, acting on behalf of the Nazi’s German Commission on Criminal Law Reform which was contemplating racial laws which would make Jews and gypsies second class citizens and prohibit sexual relations and marriage between Aryans and Jews, Gypsies and other non-Aryans, Erich Krueger, an SS officer and a political attaché at the German Embassy, approached General Marlborough to commission and pay for confidential legal research into American race laws on miscegenation they could use as models to do the same to Germany’s Jews. We learned from other sources that Marlborough was an anti-Semite like many other MID officers. In fact, Marlborough admitted to us he didn’t like or trust Jews and that this was why he readily agreed to the request. He also told us that he recognized how politically sensitive it might be. So he farmed it out under a Black Drape using secret MID contingency funds to retain RVD International, a private security group named for and headed by Marlborough’s predecessor at MID, retired General Ralph Van DeMan. RVD frequently had been given government subcontracts by MID and employed many ex-MID agents.”
FDR did not like where this was going, but he decided to keep quiet until the little bastard finished. The faint odor of blackmail trailed Hoover like the scent of a skunk.
“Once Marlborough told Van Deman what kind of research the SS wanted, they both agreed that the most qualified—and sympathetic—person to supervise the research was the Dean of the Harvard Law School, Roscoe Pound. He was known to be a Nazi sympathizer and had publicly accepted an honorary degree from the University of Berlin personally presented by Hans Luther, Nazi Germany’s Ambassador to the US.”
“The head of Harvard Law School? Old Roscoe?” Roosevelt said almost reflexively.
“Yes sir.” Hoover said and then continued “He and the whole Harvard Law faculty attended a Nazi luncheon on the university’s campus”
Roosevelt wished he was surprised but he wasn’t. He could tell Hoover was waiting for some kind of reaction but he wouldn’t be getting any. Roosevelt stared at him and said nothing. Finally, the ugly little toad started speaking again, the air firmly vacuumed from his sails by FDR’s silence.
“Uh…well in the late summer of 1933, RVD hired Pound with secret MID funds to sift through personnel files of former MID agents with law degrees to find the six best men for the job. Pound then supervised, also under a Black Drape, these six ex-agents who performed on the ground research in law libraries in thirty states whose laws in 1933 prohibited marriage between whites and assorted ‘coloreds’ and Asians.”
FDR just shook his head as Hoover read off the thirty states. He had known the Deep South prohibited interracial marriage, but was mildly surprised at all the western states that did so as well—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Hoover paused after reading off the names of the states as if to ask if the President had any questions. Roosevelt gestured for him to continue. “Go ahead, Edgar, and get it over with.”
Hoover did. And, to FDR’s dismay, it got worse.
“While they have no such laws today,” the FBI Director continued, “an additional seven American states once enacted laws against interracial marriage during the 19th century and later repealed them: Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island and Washington. Oh yes,” Hoover added, “the District of Columbia once had laws like that as well.”
Exactly, Roosevelt thought, courtesy of those idiot Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives before the Civil War. One of the few decent things the Republicans did after the Civil War was to repeal those laws. The last piece from Hoover, however, was the goddamn spoiled cherry on top of the whole rotten cake. Even savage Indians—the Cherokee Nation in 1824 and 1839, the Cree Nation in 1839, and the Chickasaw Nation in 1858—prohibited marriage and sexual relations with Negroes!
“In September 1933, Pound compiled the resulting research and delivered it to Wilhelm Krueger, the SS officer at the German Embassy who commissioned it. RVD was then reimbursed for its expenses by the SS and, after taking its cut, in turn passed it back to MID to replenish their secret contingency funds. The SS officer later told Pound that he had sent it on to Berlin where, after translation and removal of his name, they were calling his report the ‘Prussian Memorandum’. The SS officer also told Pound that many members on the German Commission on Criminal Law Reform were relying on it to advance their arguments that German Jews should be stripped of their citizenship and that marriage between Aryans and Jews, gypsies and other non-Aryans should be criminalized. Pound reported all this to the FBI agent with no small amount of pride and gave him a copy of Pound’s original memorandum.”
After Hoover finished, Roosevelt sighed. What complete idiots! It’s not that he didn’t understand what had motivated Marlborough, Van Deman and Pound. After all, he privately had informed more than one Catholic or Jew reluctant to do his bidding that this was a Protestant country; that the Catholics and Jews were here on sufferance; and that it was up to them to go along with anything he wanted. Well, make that a white Protestant country as well and Negroes better do what he wanted also. And what he wanted was for all of them to vote in large numbers and elect more Democrats in the mid-term elections next year, not to mention his own reelection in 1936. But these were not things he could say publicly. To have it known that the Nazis were using openly racist American laws to craft their own laws against Jews would not play well among Jews or Negroes. And while he needed the larger Negro vote, he also very much needed campaign contributions from the Jews who would not understand that some politically tone-deaf idiots in his Administration had gone off the reservation without his knowledge.
 “Thank you, Edgar. I appreciate your bringing this to my attention. I will take care of it. I assume that folder you’ve been occasionally reading from is for me?”
“Yes, it is, Mr. President.”
Roosevelt held out his hand. “Good, I’ll take it.” Hoover handed the folder to him. “I want any copies of this file in the FBI classified as ‘TOP SECRET’ and I don’t want this appearing in any of Drew Pearson’s ‘Washington Merry-Go-Round’ columns in the Post. Understood?”
“Perfectly, Mr. President.”
“Fine. Louie will see you out.”
Moments later, Howe returned. “What were those morons at MID thinking?”
“Who knows, but have the fannies of Marlborough and Van Deman sitting in those two chairs,” Roosevelt said, pointing to the two armchairs in front of his desk, “first thing tomorrow!”
“You got it, Boss,” Howe said and turned to leave.
“One more thing, Louie.”
“Yes, Frank?”
“This is political dynamite and absolutely cannot get out. I don’t trust Hoover. Call him sometime in the next few hours; re-emphasize to him the importance of keeping this quiet. Tell him I want all FBI records on this destroyed. He’ll agree, but he’ll keep one copy for his personal blackmail file anyway,” Roosevelt said and then paused. “Also, tell him I want the names and personnel files of the two agents who conducted the investigation on my desk by the close of business today. Then, have someone check them out. Make sure they’re good Democrats. If he is at all reluctant, this may be the right time to mention the photograph of our top cop in a dress.”

Michael McMenamin is the co-author with his son Patrick of the first five of the six award winning 1930s era historical novels featuring Winston Churchill and his fictional Scottish goddaughter, the adventure-seeking Hearst photojournalist Mattie McGary. He is the co-author with his daughter Kathleen McMenamin of the sixth Mattie + Winston novel The Liebold Protocol and the novella Appointment in Prague. The first six novels in the series—The DeValera Deception, The Parsifal Pursuit, The Gemini Agenda, The Berghof Betrayal, The Silver Mosaic and The Liebold Protocol—received a total of 15 literary awards. He is currently at work with his daughter on the ninth Mattie + Winston historical adventure, The Phoenix Progression.

Michael is also the author of the critically acclaimed Becoming Winston Churchill, The Untold Story of Young Winston and His American Mentor [Hardcover, Greenwood 2007; Paperback, Enigma 2009] and the co-author of Milking the Public, Political Scandals of the Dairy Lobby from LBJ to Jimmy Carter [Nelson Hall, 1980]. He is a contributing editor for Finest Hour, the quarterly journal of the International Churchill Society and for the libertarian magazine Reason. His work also has appeared in The Churchills in Ireland, 1660-1965, [Irish Academic Press, 2012] as well as two Reason anthologies, Free Minds & Free Markets, Twenty Five Years of Reason [Pacific Research Institute, 1993] and Choice, the Best of Reason [BenBella Books, 2004]. A full-time writer, he was formerly a First Amendment and Media Defense lawyer and a U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent. 

Kathleen McMenamin, the other half of the father-daughter writing team, has been editing her father’s writing for longer than she cares to remember. She is the co-author with her father of the 2018 Mattie + Winston novella, Appointment in Prague, A Mattie McGary + Winston Churchill World War II Adventure and the sixth Mattie + Winston novel, The Liebold Protocol. She also is the co-author with her sister Kelly of the critically acclaimed Organize Your Way: Simple Strategies for Every Personality [Sterling, 2017]. The two sisters are professional organizers, personality-type experts and the founders of PixiesDidIt! a home and life organization business, www.pixiesdidit.com.
Kathleen is an honors graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and received an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University while she was with The Wendy Weill Agency. Prior to starting her own business, she was Senior Advertising and Promotion Coordinator for Bedford/St. Martin’s. The novella Appointment in Prague was her second joint writing project with her father; The Liebold Protocol was her third; and The Prussian Memoradum is her fourth. Their first father-daughter writing project was “Bringing Home the First Amendment”, a review of Nat Hentoff’s The Day They Came to Arrest the Book in the August 1984 Reason magazine. While a teen-ager, she and her father would often take runs together, creating plots for adventure stories as they ran.


Website: www.winstonchurchillthrillers.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WinstonChurchillThrillers


No comments:

Post a Comment