Q&A with Graham Hurley, author of Last Flight to Stalingrad

Read on for our interview with Graham Hurley, author of Last Flight to Stalingrad, a WWII thriller out now in paperback.

Plus: Leave a comment on this post to enter for a chance to win a copy of Last Flight to Stalingrad!

Congratulations on the publication of Last Flight to Stalingrad, the 5th book in your Spoils of War (Wars Within) series from Head of Zeus. What can readers expect from this installment in the series?

Graham Hurley: This is a book about the lies, big and small, that created and sustained the Third Reich. It explores what happens when the no-man’s-land between truth and fiction becomes contested, a journey that ends in Germany’s biggest defeat at the battle of Stalingrad. This is a disaster that even the Minister for Propaganda can’t turn to Germany’s advantage. Or so everyone thinks…

 

Last Flight to Stalingrad follows Ministry of Propaganda journalist Werner Nehmann as he carries out an order for Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda under the Third Reich. Why were you drawn to write from the perspective of a journalist in this era?

GH: All fiction, says me, is an act of trespass. You’re venturing into someone else’s world, onto someone else’s territory, hence the incessant need for research. But I’ve been a journalist myself and I think I understand how vulnerable we all are to the power of fake news. This is the way that whole societies change in front of our very eyes. Hence my fascination with this conjuring trick—then, thanks to the likes of Joseph Goebbels, and now with fakers like Trump and chancers like Boris Johnson. The truth is worth protecting. As recent history, in the shape of the Third Reich, so conclusively proves.

 

What was your research process like for Last Flight to Stalingrad?

GH: My knowledge of the battle of Stalingrad comes from endless research, chiefly that ever-growing stack of first-person accounts, historical fiction, and contemporary re-analysis bred by the conflict. Alas, my wife Lin and I never made it to Stalingrad itself but we’re on good terms with Berlin, Hamburg, Kiel, Munich, Warsaw, and Kiev. Paris, L’Orient, Le Havre, Dieppe, and many of the other cities that feature throughout the series.

 

Do you personally read historical fiction? If so, who are some of your favorite authors in the genre?

GH: I’ve always been a huge fan of Len Deighton, and I thought Winter was wonderful in its ambition and sheer reach. Likewise, with a tighter focus, Bomber. German authors have an obvious closeness to the voltage of those years of war, and I’ve loved reading Hans Fallada, especially Alone in Berlin. Ditto Heinrich Gerlach’s Breakout at Stalingrad.

 

What first intrigued you to write about WWII?

GH: My father fought with the RAF during the war, and my mum was under the blitz in London, and my reading as a kid (without a TV in the house) was dominated by fact and fiction from writers who’d drawn heavily on either first-hand experience or the stories of others. As a TV documentary maker, I was lucky enough to meet and memorialise dozens of veterans from key moments in the war, and over the years I gradually joined up all these random dots until I felt confident enough to hazard a little fiction of my own. Since then, as an ex-crime writer, I’ve never looked back.

 

What is your favorite book, movie, or series about WWII?

GH: Favourite book? Christabel Bielenberg’s The Past is Myself. Favourite WWII Movie Moment? Kenneth Branagh’s performance in Conspiracy. Darkness made visible…

 

The sixth and final installment in the Spoils of War series, Kyiv, is set to publish next month from Head of Zeus. Can you give us any teasers about that final chapter in the series?

 GH: Kyiv is a special book for both myself and my wife. Lin discovered the core idea during a stay in the city, and I couldn’t resist exploring it further. The result, says me, is a substantial addition to the series, and has provoked my publisher into insisting on further titles. A teaser? The Germans are feasting on the Soviet Union and nothing will keep them from devouring the capital of the Ukraine. But

Kyiv will be a bone in the throat of the all-conquering Wehrmacht armies. Why? How? Read on…

 

Do you have anything in the works after the Spoils of War (Wars Within) series concludes? 

GH: After Kyiv, comes Katastrophe, a story set in the early months of 1945, with the Russians at the gates of a ruined Berlin, the Western armies still pushing to be first to the capital of the Reich, and Moscow preparing for a new confrontation after the defeat of Nazi Germany. This book features both Werner Nehmann and Willi Schultz, two years after the events of Last Flight to Stalingrad.  After that, I’m drawing a bead on the catastrophic Dieppe Raid, when thousands of unblooded Canadian infantry paid for political chaos and tactical blunders with their lives. Title? As yet unknown. Research? Nearly complete. Page one? About to happen…


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Last Flight to Stalingrad Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/qa-with-graham-hurley-author-of-last-flight-to-stalingrad/ beginning at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) July 2, 2021. Sweepstakes ends at 2:59 p.m. ET July 16, 2021. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.

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Comments

  1. Christina McComiskie

    I would love to read this book. Thank you for the chance!

    • Douglas Deane

      I am always interested in reading novels about WWII. Can’t wait to read this one.

  2. Barbara Bibel

    This sounds great. My family came from small villages outside Kyiv, so it is very interesting for me. Many of them were executed by the Nazis.

  3. Karl Stenger

    Sounds fascinating.

  4. JESSICA HERMOSILLO

    Sounds very interesting! Would love to read this.

  5. Francie Scanlon

    Betrayal is eternal.

    Hence at the core of all history’s perpetual pattern of repetitive tale told repeatedly.

  6. Matt

    Congrats on finishing your new work!

  7. Laini Pearl

    Impressive historical which interests me greatly. World War 11 books are larger than life and profound.

  8. Anne

    Extraordinary author, captivating story and fascinating interview.

  9. Stephanie Copplestone

    Historical books are my new obsession

  10. Paul Gada

    I must read this book!

  11. Stephanie Copplestone

    Historical books are my new found passion

  12. Debra J Pruss

    Thank you for the opportunity.

  13. Cindi Hoppes

    My dad enlisted in the Navy, during WWII. He told me so many interesting stories about his time served…
    Many thanks, Cindi

  14. brandi olenchak

    My 11 year old nephew loves anything on WWI and WWII, so I would def keep and share with him!

  15. mrsbig7dog

    This looks like a great summer read.

  16. Tracey J Henderson

    I love thrilling books to read about WWII…look forward to reading it soon!!

  17. Jackie Wisherd

    I like reading about WWII . One of my uncles spent two years in a German prisoner of war camp. I always liked hearing him talk about it but he really didn’t say much to us little kids in the family. I learned later in life what it was like for him to be there as a young 19 year old soldier.

  18. Jenna

    Fabulous looking book!! ❤️❤️

  19. hadabuck

    Sounds like a great read, and one that I can share with my dad, too!

  20. phillip jones

    Historical fiction brings history alive in ways that non fiction cannot.

  21. sandra burns

    Sounds really good!

  22. Shelly Marino

    I cannot wait to pass this title on to my teenage son. He started writing a book a year ago as an assignment and has continued even though the assignment is over and it is centered around WWII. His book is also historical fiction. At the young age of 15, he has gone to great lengths in his research to make sure the factual information he uses is accurate. I believe this will be truly inspiring for him.

  23. Renee Christine Mirsky

    Sounds like an intriguing read and cool to hear how you got started writing too!

  24. Barbara Lima

    I love historical fiction! Especially WWII

  25. Joel Timmons

    Love. A. Good. WW2. Story

  26. Jackie

    Looking forward to reading this book.

  27. Barbara Henry

    My father fought in WW11 and I love reading about it.
    Thank you!

  28. Peter W.

    Another book I need! Yes!

  29. Deborah Dumm

    Book sounds wonderful.

  30. lasvegasnv

    a nice interview

  31. Ruth Bousquet

    Very interested in reading this book.

  32. Jennifer Keating

    This book sounds AWESOME! WWII fiction is one of my absolute favorites to read!

  33. joan ramirez

    This book would be helpful as background for my own suspense novel set in WWII.

  34. kelly

    I would love to read this book

  35. Vesna Dan

    Sounds like a great read!

  36. Brenda Tierney Uyak

    I love both suspense and history. Sounds intriguing.

  37. Robert Grieco

    Fingers crossed for this one!

  38. Ashley Passino

    This hits home for me. My grandpa was in WW2. He never talked about it much, what I know I had to find out for myself, but he was a hero and this book really brings it all home for me. Like a missing piece of the puzzle.

  39. Pete Salisbury

    Both my Mother and Father served during WWII. My Dad in the US Navy aboard submarines and my Mom in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force. Without the war my parents never would of met and I wouldn’t be around to read this book.

  40. Kay Kendall

    Author Graham Hurley is a new author to me, but when he says he loves Ken Deighton’s fabulous book. WINTER, I knew I needed to read Hurley’s new book. If I enjoy it as much as I expect to, I will go back and read his previous WWII novels. So glad I saw this interview.

  41. jennifer galindo

    I need a new challenging book to keep me intrigued long enough for my kids to battle through bathtime.

  42. Deb Philippon

    Historical fiction is my favorite genre read. So many friends and neighbors were affected by WWII, and it’s books like this that give me an insight into their lives.

  43. cmsuto1359

    Would love to read this! Thanks for the chance!

  44. Lori P

    A thriller pitting propaganda against truth couldn’t be more timely and makes me anxious just thinking about it. Imagine what immersing myself in the book might do!

  45. Shelley Beachy

    I would love to read this. WWII is my favorite timeframe to read about.

  46. Lindsay Fairbrother-Henige

    Fingers crossed! Sounds like a great read!

  47. Judy Kahn

    Would love to read!

  48. Lena Moback

    This sounds like a really interesting book, I would love to read it.

  49. Lindsey A Eick

    I would love to win and read!! Thank you for the chance!!

  50. Gail Gallant

    I have a couple of guys who would love to read this book. Thank you for the opportunity.

  51. Shirley Pinczewski

    Good luck to all

  52. Asa Guice

    This sounds great!

  53. Randy Parks

    Sounds like a must read!

  54. Kevin Leahy

    Stalingrad is the most fascinating battle of W.W.II

  55. Phyllis Skoglund

    The acknowledged past should help us move forward into the future.

  56. Brad Bonds

    Looking forward to it.

  57. vickie dailey

    very interesting Q & A – makes me want to read the book and learn more

  58. MARY j PRIMORAC

    On my TBR list

  59. Teresa

    Would enjoy this book!

  60. Anne McIntosh

    I’m a historical fiction fan. Everyone from W.E.B Griffith’s WW11 books,to Kate Quinn’s The Rose Code’s WW11 Bletchely Park and let’s not forget Murphy the Hero Donkey from WW1. So The Last Flight to Stalingrad would fit right in.. Kyiv is ending which makes me sad but I’ll look forward to new book.

  61. Bonnie

    How can people say this never happened its part of history needs to be read by all

  62. Stephen D. Rogers

    I love reading books set in this period, and look forward to loving this one as well.

  63. Seana Graham

    I think a novel about truth and lies in the news would be particularly fascinating to read right now.

  64. John OBrien

    Nice to see a different perspective on the era. Look forward to reading this.

  65. Karen Paul

    Always looking for new reads with great character development and interesting plots

  66. Kristin Lane

    Would love to read this. Thank you

  67. Gina Martinez Bald

    Thanks for the chance to read the book

  68. downeaster

    This sounds really interesting. I need to read the earlier books in the series.

  69. jane

    always interested in trying something different.

  70. Tim Cheever

    I would Love to this book, it sounds like a very interesting book.

  71. Stan Shank

    I am ready to read this book.

  72. audrey murawski

    Can’t wait to read this book !

  73. Pat Murphy

    Sounds like something that I would be interested in reading. As a History major, I has always enjoyed books that deal with history.

  74. Jim Harris

    I have read a couple of series (David Downing and Phillip Kerr) in which the protagonist is a journalist or police detective in Berlin during WWII. I found the Kerr series particularly interesting since his hero is a German cop.

  75. vicki andrew

    love a chance to add this to my bookshelf. TY

  76. Dave

    Would like to take it for a ride. Thx

  77. Amy K.

    I am really looking forward to reading this book!

  78. Christine

    I am always looking for new-to-me authors. This sounds like an interesting read.

  79. Julie McDonough

    This sounds exciting, thank you for the chance.

  80. Phyllis McGuire

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  81. Susan Coster

    My father served in WWII and narrowly missed death when a glider he was scheduled to fly in crashed. All perished but luckily my dad was summoned for another duty instead, so I have always been fascinated with WWII novels.

  82. Denise Duvall

    This series sounds like a must read for me. Thank you for recommending it. Some of my father’s friends were in the RCAF. Their war experience forever impacted their life.

  83. Charles Hauser

    Been looking for someone to replace Phillip Kerr. I going to try this author

  84. Jo Ann Riggs

    I am very interested in reading this book!

  85. Caryl Kane

    Sounds like a page-turner!

  86. Alyssa Mago

    Definitely want to ready this and love that the author is also huge fan of Len Deighton and liked Winter. I just read it.

  87. Mitchell Schaub

    I enjoy historical fiction, and this sounds like a fascinating work.

  88. susan atkins

    One of my favorite things to read about are WW11 stories,this one looks like a must read for me

  89. Louis Burklow

    Look forward to reading this book – sounds like my kind of historical fiction.

  90. Karen Lynn Hackney

    This sounds so interesting to read.

  91. gail

    Sounds very interesting

  92. Joyce Benzing

    This is definitely a must read for me!

  93. Daniel Weber

    Sounds awesome

  94. Alicia

    I’ve been interested in WW2 for a long time. Looks like a book I’d enjoy.

  95. Janice Milliken

    Sounds like a well researched book. It will be interesting to compare the propaganda methods of the past to modern day methods!

  96. Lana Maskus

    Sounds so good!

  97. D Lindholm

    Posting. Sounds like a great book!

  98. Linda Cosby

    I would like to read this book.

  99. samantha cox

    Can not wait to read this.

  100. Linda Peters

    would love to read this, thanks

  101. Ronald Roseborough

    Sounds like a great book. Love to read it.

  102. Mark Haviland

    Looks like an exceptional plot, and a good read for the late summer or fall.

  103. ViolinGeek

    Sounds like a good book. I enjoy reading about WW2, makes me appreciate my life even more. My grandpa was a medic paratrooper and would never talk about his experiences.

  104. Phyllis Sinclair

    Sounds like a series I need to investigate.

  105. Cooltwou

    I hope I win because I don’t win that often

  106. Beth Talmage

    Sounds great–I’d love to read it!

  107. Benjamin Gordin McMurtry

    I look forward to reading this whole series! Thanks

  108. Joe Steininger

    Love to read historical novels or historical fiction. Have never read anything by Graham Hurley but he certainly sounds interesting. My grandparents came from Germany and experienced some of the harsh realities of the Nazis. Would love to read this book.

  109. Desmond Warzel

    Sounds highly interesting…

  110. Daniel M

    bet my dad would like

  111. Pam

    Looks like an intriguing read!

  112. Joe Steininger

    I love to read historical novels or historical fiction. I have never read anything by Graham Hurley, but he certainly sounds interesting. My Grandparents came from Germany and experienced the Nazis. I would love to read this book.

  113. Kristina

    Wow! Unique insight! I would love to win this for my husband.

  114. Kristina

    Wow! Unique insight! I’d love to win this for my husband!

  115. Shirley Evans

    Would love to win this book. Love historical writings.

  116. valerie jobeck

    thanks for the chance – sounds like a good book

  117. Sally Schmidt

    One of my favorite periods in history to read about. Sounds good.

  118. Jan Simpson

    This book sounds intriguing. WWII is my favorite historical fiction timeframe.

  119. Barbara Ford

    It sounds very interesting to read. All I know is it was way before my time, in the late 60’s I was born, lol. Thanks

  120. Megan Scovel

    These are the true stories that need to be told. Thank you for your labor of love.

  121. njt0211

    Sounds like a great read. Looking forward to reading it.

  122. Elsid222

    Such a fantastic author.. I cannot wait to read this, but I’d also love to win a copy!

  123. paul Klumbach

    i love everything about WWll- would really love to read this.

  124. Debra Patton

    I enjoy reading WWII historical fiction and I look forward to reading this series.

  125. Tawney Mazek

    Long ago some of my history courses were WWII Europe, and have read quite a bit more in the years since – but not much fiction. This series may well change that. Sounds really interesting.

  126. Karyn M. Newton

    Sounds interesting – thanks for the opportunity!

  127. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a great read

  128. Nicki Somers-Bashor

    Can’t wait to read!

  129. JoeAllen

    Looking forward to reading it!

  130. Michael Carter

    Great!
    Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Thanks —

  131. Clydia DeFreese

    I’ve learned about so many good authors on this web site. Thanks for keeping me up to date.

  132. Michele Hartshaw

    My husband and I are huge historical fans, I would love to read this story! Thank you for the opportunity at the chance!

  133. Tiffany

    This looks good

  134. Randall Taneda

    i want to read this book!

  135. Lori Byrd

    Sounds like an incredible book.

  136. martin bodnar

    THANKS FOR THE CHANCE TO WIN!!

  137. Cindy McIntyre

    I’m not very familiar with the Dieppe Raid. I look forward to that book down the road.

  138. Christal M

    Would love to read it

  139. Sabine

    I would love to read this book. Thank you for the chance!

  140. Nell

    Looks like a great book!

  141. Susan Morris

    I’m very interested in reading of WWII. My late father was a Navy veteran, but I like reading of the different fronts.

  142. Nissa Evans

    I’m a big WWII/Eastern European history reader and this book has been on my to-read list on Goodreads. I’d love to add this book to my collection of WWII books that I already enjoy reading.

  143. Del Deleon

    Love WWII reads!

  144. Christian Mericle

    Sounds intriguing!

  145. Patricia Bradley

    I’m looking forward to reading Last Flight to Stalingrad. My uncle worked with both the Undergrounds of Norway (“Vikings”) and Belgium (“extraordinarily efficient saboteurs, but always late to our rendezvouses.” So, I love a good WWII spy thriller!

  146. bridgitte bullock

    my dad would love to read this he was in the war

  147. susan beamon

    I’ve read some historical books on WWII. It’s not my favorite historical period, but I try to keep informed about all times.

  148. Stella McKissack

    So very interesting. Would love to read more.

  149. Michael Shulman

    Sounds like an exciting read. I love reading about the Great Patriotic War in both English and Russian.

  150. PAULA MILLER

    looks like a good book.

  151. Cindy Bowling

    My husband would love to read this.

  152. Cindy Bowling

    My husband would love this.

  153. Hal

    Looking forward to the read

  154. Denise Loewenthal

    I too really enjoy historical fiction. This looks interesting!

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