Here's an unlikely winter's tale. A handful of deluded Irishmen once fought for Hitler's Nazi Germany during the Second World War, and military historian Terence O'Reilly has the story. Having been captured by the Germans in Guernsey, John Brady and his friend Frank Stringer decided to switch sides: they had been soldiers in the Irish Regiment of the British Army, suddenly they were recruited by the dreaded SS, the German special forces, and were trained by German Military Intelligence. Unfortunately, the story didn't end there. Brady, from Co. Roscommon, and Stringer, from Co. Leitrim, fell under the command of Otto Skorzeny, the man who had rescued Benito Mussolini from prison, and they were involved in some of the most ferocious fighting of World War Two during the last days of The Third Reich. If you want to know how on earth two country boys ended up swearing allegiance to Adolf Hitler - and it's instructive, so you really should - then Terence O'Reilly's meticulously researched book is mandatory reading. Dufour, $28.95.

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