BOOKS: The Nazi Conspiracy: Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch

Jan. 28—A footnote led to Brad Meltzer researching and writing "The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington."

Just a small item in another book, referred to briefly in a footnote, about the plot to kill Washington in the early months of the American Revolution.

He used the footnote as a springboard to pen an entire book and start the "Conspiracy" series.

The second book, "The Lincoln Conspiracy," delved into a better known plot to kill Abraham Lincoln as he entered Washington, D.C., for his first inauguration.

"The Nazi Conspiracy," his latest in the series, looks at "The Secret Plot to Kill Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill."

Like the Washington book, "The Nazi Conspiracy" is a lesser known plot. It revolves around plans to kill American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the Big Three summit in Tehran, Iran, during World War II.

The first summit between the Big Three Allied leaders is well known and extensively documented in numerous books and documentaries. Nazi plots to assassinate one or all of the Allied leaders is another footnote mention in many of these books, if it even merits a mention in the other volumes.

Meltzer and co-author Josh Mensch stand on less solid ground in "The Nazi Conspiracy" than in previous books. They present the mystery/puzzle of the known facts as they see them, supplied with evidence culled and weighed. Concluding chapters explain what they view as more believable evidence compared to what is legend surrounding the assassination plot.

Throughout the book, the authors chronicle how assassination was used by both Nazis and their Axis partners as well as the Allies.

The majority of this book is about how Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin came into their positions and in setting up the Tehran conference in late 1943 — details readers can find in numerous other books. These chapters are interspersed with chapters about Nazis and Nazi supporters at work in Tehran.

All of the chapters are written in the style of a suspense novel, similar to Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's "Killing" series of history books, or Meltzer's fictional thrillers. Meltzer has penned bestselling non-fiction, novels and comic books. He's also been a part of a historical mysteries television series.

"The Nazi Conspiracy" is a great read and fans of the "Conspiracy" series can only hope Meltzer continues reading history book footnotes.