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Title: The Phoenix: A Novel About the Hindenberg
Author: Henning Boetius
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
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The year is 1947, ten years after the famous zeppelin Hindenburg burst spectacularly into flames while landing in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The cause of the disaster is still a mystery. The airship was a symbol of world peace and German technological prowess and was carrying important American industrialists and high-ranking Nazi officers. The reasons to think the crash was something other than a horrible accident are manifold and contradictory. Birger Lund, a survivor, suspects sabotage.
Lund learns that Edmund Boysen, the officer at the controls at the time of the explosion, also survived the disaster and has retreated to his childhood home, an isolated xenophobic island where the politics of Nazi Germany live on. Seeking answers, Lund tracks him there.
And there the reader ventures into Boysen’s discovery of the science and wonder of the fabulous dirigible, written with the authority that only one who has lived with the mythic tales of the Hindenburg could understand. For the author, Henning Boëtius, is the son of the only living member of the crew of the Hindenburg–the man who, indeed, was at the controls.
In a fast-paced narrative that unfolds against the background of fascist Germany, The Phoenix combines a love story, an exploration of the physics of air travel, and a frightening re-creation of–after the sinking of the Titanic–perhaps the greatest catastrophe of the twentieth century. This is historical fiction at its best.
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