Jim Ring is an author and film-maker. His début, Erskine Childers, won the Marsh Prize for Biography. It was followed by How the English Made the Alps which was described as 'fascinating' by the Daily Telegraph and 'evocative and entertaining' by the Financial Times. His collective biography of Britain's leading Cold War submariners, We Come Unseen, won the Mountbatten Prize and was called 'a welcome acknowledgement of one of the Cold War's little-known aspects' by the Sunday Telegraph. Storming the Eagles' Nest, his latest book, is the first full account of the Alps as a pivotal theatre of the Second World War.
In a mountain resort in the Bavarian Alps, Hitler built his Alpine headquarters - his ‘Eagle’s Nest’. It was here that he conceived and directed the war, as the surrounding territory fell to Fascism. The Alps as much as Berlin were the heart of the Third Reich.
As Mussolini’s troops pitched battle with the French on the Franco-Italian alpine border, skiing resorts were turned into training centres for mountain warfare. Switzerland prepared to be invaded. Concentration camps were seeded in the alpine valleys, while guards turned away Jewish refugees at the country’s borders.
But the Alps were also cradles of resistance. They were home to US and British spies and double agents, to the French maquis and the Italian and Yugoslav partisans. There were tales of courage, heroism and self-sacrifice, of armed struggle and ordinary people doing extraordinary things.