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The Interrogator: The Story of Hanns-Joachim Scharff, Master Interrogator of the Luftwaffe

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  14 reviews
This is the story of Hanns Scharff the master interrogator of the Luftwaffe who questioned captured American fighter pilots of the USAAF Eighth and Ninth Air Forces in World War II. This Intelligence Officer gained the reputation as the man who could magically get all the answers he needed from the prisoners of war. In most cases the POWs being interrogated never realized ...more
Published December 1st 1997 by Schiffer Publishing (first published 1978)
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Mark Veira
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was full of interesting anecdotes from WW2 - things I haven't come across before, such as the ill-will that was increased towards downed allied bomber crews - after a crew came down over Germany sporting "Murder Inc" emblazoned across the back of their flight jackets. This was the name of their aircraft - but for the German populace on the receiving end of their deadly payloads - it was in bad taste to say the least.

Hanns Scharff's incredible affability and humanity shine through the pages,
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in WWII anecdotes
Shelves: intelligence, warfare
Raymond Tolivers The Interrogator recollects the war time experiences of Hanns Joachim Scharff as an interrogator with a processing and evaluation center of the Luftwaffe.

The story is written in a rather humorous style and starts out with the tale of coincidences that lead to Scharff becoming an interrogator although he neither had special talents or training for the job. Over the course of the story some anecdotes are told, which basically only depict Scharff as a decent person doing the job he
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is an interesting history book that touches on some aspects of psychology. If you want a psychology book delving into advanced interrogation techniques, a lot of it will be disapointingly dry. However, if you just want the psychology then I still recommend reading chapter 5 (Wits as Weapons) and chapter 8 (To Err is Human).

Chapter 5 is Scharff's narrative about how he went about his process, fictionalized so as to not embarass any of the men who gave up information without realizing it.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Toliver offers a classic account of how to conduct interrogations through rapport and decent treatment. As an interrogator, Scharff knew the details about his subjects, treated them decently, and used round-about techniques to get critical information. People who believe that torture or enhanced interrogations have a place in any society face the challenge of showing how those methods provide better information than Scharff's.

Overall, this book is a series of interesting and entertaining
Hanns Scharff tells us the story from his perspective as an interrogator, unable to rise above the rank of sergeant due to his political convictions. He gives us his view of the carefree, irresponsible American boys who found themselves suddenly at war. He also gives us a look at the average German soldier, disgusted with their Government but loyal to the death to their country. Sound familiar, anyone?
This is a must-read for anyone who wants to know the truth of what actually happened. We are
Tim Q
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Fascinating look at an interrogator who developed such relationships with prisoners that they gladly developed post war relationships. Also struck by this slice of an evil genocidal war machine that displayed a modicum honor/camaraderie with its enemies
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Was watching Rosewater, and was intrigued by the process of interrogation, which lead me to search for "Best interrogation books" online, there were a wealth of them, but this one especially peaked my interest because of the near universal positive review and counter-intuitive positive reviews of Luftwaffe interrogator Hans Scharff's life as well as his methodology (he was a Nazi right?!). Scharff a South African ex-pat from Germany at the outset of the war, an industrialist with an English ...more
Anna Nelson
Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful memoir of the life of Hanns Joachim Scharff, a German interrogator during WWII. The book mainly consists to Scharff's personal accounts taken from his private journals, that when written, were intended for family use. Author Raymond F. Toliver befriended Scharff and is responsible for this story's release. Toliver acts as a guide, clarifying some of Scharff's accounts and interjecting the recollections of many that had contact with Scharff. Towards to the end of the book ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fascinating story! Worth the read!
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books of the year. It was like listening to a very well told story by your Grandfather who was actually there... This book will be staying on my shelf to revisit in the future.
Sergej Koščejev
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting content, but quite a lot of editing errors. For example, every other instance of the pronoun "us" is written as U.S.
Jun 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely loved this book. I read it over about 3 days. Fascinating.
Daniel B Larsen
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Mike B
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Dominic Chan
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Feb 17, 2017
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Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
must read for any professional in the field.
Freyr Þorvaldsson
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Jan 15, 2013
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Bryan Kirby
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This should be a must read for all military interrogators. I wish I would have read it sooner.
Jeff T. Pratt
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Mar 13, 2016
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Jim Harrell
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