The untold story of an Israeli spy’s epic journey to bring the notorious Butcher of Latvia to justice - a case that altered the fates of all ex-Nazis.
Before World War II, Herbert Cukurs was a famous figure in his small Latvian city, the “Charles Lindbergh of his country.” But by 1945, he was the Butcher of Latvia, a man who murdered some thirty thousand Latvian Jews. Somehow, he dodged the Nuremberg trials, fleeing to South America after war’s end.
By 1965, as a statute of limitations on all Nazi war crimes threatened to expire, Germany sought to welcome previous concentration camp commanders, pogrom leaders, and executioners, as citizens. The global pursuit of Nazi criminals escalated to beat the looming deadline, and Mossad, the Israeli national intelligence agency, joined the cause. Yaakov Meidad, the brilliant Mossad agent who had kidnapped Adolf Eichmann three years earlier, led the mission to assassinate Cukurs in a desperate bid to block the amnesty. In a thrilling undercover operation unrivaled by even the most ambitious spy novels, Meidad traveled to Brazil in an elaborate disguise, befriended Cukurs and earned his trust, while negotiations over the Nazi pardon neared a boiling point.
The Good Assassin uncovers this little-known chapter of Holocaust history and the pulse-pounding undercover operation that brought Cukurs to justice.
"Talty efficiently mines archival records for vivid details and tracks the complexities of Medad’s undercover mission with flair. The result is a captivating and gruesome real-life spy thriller." (Publishers Weekly)
"Compelling.... Talty remains true to his technique, delivering thoroughly researched, engrossing nonfiction in a thrillerlike narrative style.... As anti-Semitism surges once again, this page-turning history reminds us of the sanguinary consequences of unchecked hatred." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Thrilling.... A fast-paced, recommended work that enthralls, edifies, and reveals the disturbing extent to which Latvians and others participated in genocide." (Library Journal)