A sensational upcoming British spy memoir of
But an investigation by historian Guy Walters in the Daily Mail published last week says author Joe Corry’s account “simply isn’t true.” Walters’ detailed, and seemingly damning, list of Corry’s supposed inventions has caused Simon & Schuster to enlist the help of London’s Imperial War Museum in discerning whether Corry’s memoir, co-written with Keith Laidler, is actually a work of fiction.
According to the Bookseller, a British blog about the publishing industry, Simon & Schuster learned of Corry's possible inventions earlier this month. "We decided to have an expert read it," Mike Jones, nonfiction editorial director of the company's UK division is quoted as saying in the Bookseller. "If it is proved that some of it is not good enough, we will have to make a decision on it then."
Walters, a former journalist for the Times of London who has written several books on World War II, is certainly not withholding judgment. In his sharply worded article for the Daily Mail, he points out that Corry could not have helped rescue Oppenheimer from
Most egregious, according to Walters, are Corry’s accounts of “'experimental' extermination camps” in Holland, where Corry writes, “People were lying, crawling and shuffling about, in stinking ankle-deep mud and human excrement.” Walters says that, despite all the true horrors of
If Corry is found to have lied, he won't be the first "memoirist" of World War II and the Holocaust to take liberties with the truth. Most famous among these is Herman Rosenblat's "Angel at the Fence," about his concentration camp romance with a woman named "Roma," which was miraculously reignited, he claimed, many years later in Brooklyn. A book deal with Penguin was canceled in 2008, after the book was discovered to have been a work of fiction. That same year, Misha Defonseca's "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years," was also discovered to have been full of fabrications. These and other instances of similar fabrication are a testament to the grip the Holocaust continues to exert on the imagination — as well as a desire to wrest from its horrors stories of human triumph.
Corry’s own fate as an author remains in limbo, though this is a story he is expert in telling, its veracity notwithstanding. On the British website for