Man of Arms: The Life and Legend of Sir Basil Zaharoff
'Never before or since in History, has a single man, who was neither monarch, politician nor general, achieved such a powerful and sinister influence over the nations of the world.' Born in 1849 in Asia Minor, of dubious origins, Zaharoff changed his name several times. He was a notable linguist especially eloquent in the language of bribery. Zaharoff was an extraordinary man - he made a fortune, was a bigamist and philanderer, was extravagant and flamboyant, developed a worldwide arms network, had interests in banking and oil, yet he detested publicity.
On his death in 1936 an epithet read 'A Million Died That He Might Live'. This secretive, reclusive man was described as 'the mystery man of Europe' and the 'Merchant of Death'. It was believed Zaharoff engineered, prolonged and finally put an end to the First World War. He was the archetypal warmonger and capitalist profiteer of popular imagination. How much of his life was real or legend?
'Zaharoff, as Anthony Allfrey's sprightly and detailed new biography demonstrates, was larger than life several times over.'
'There is much else to excite the ordinary reader in this compelling book'.