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Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Leftist-agitator Mr Martin phones me politely to ask where the meeting is, as he 'cannot find' it. Small wonder. I say: 'Nor will you! Goodnight,' and hang up.


Above: The farewell dinner at the Chicago Hilton, with which Mr Irving ends his seventy-city tour

click for origin[Previous Radical's Diary]

August 24, 2008 (Sunday)
Clearwater (Florida)

SUPPER at a steakhouse on the other side of the highway. It is suicidal to cross. My muscles are no longer functioning properly since prison, I cannot stand steadily on my right leg without support. The photos show me in the meetings usually leaning against a chair or table, or the podium.

I set out for Tallahassee and arrive at the restaurant, Gill's steakhouse and grill, at 6:10 p.m.

En route, I am phoned at length by Jessica at 2:55 p.m. I say that I have the envelope lying on the dashboard but I have not found a post office. I make a point of detouring into Ocala, and posting it from there.

At 5:05 p.m the mysterious would-be guest Udo Glasser phones from 850 298 8471 to be told tonight's location, having phoned twice before, too early, and apologising nicely. I now give him the street address but not the restaurant name. I shall set a closer deadline in future. [He turns out to be a mole, as he does not show up for the dinner, while several agitators do. My database on this gentleman already read: Wants details of Tallahassee meeeting on 25.8.08, and adds, LSAH! My number is as below; but he originally lied "no phone." I phone him 15.8.08 4:54 p.m, sounds okay... Offers to assist. I politely decline." I had red-flagged him at once, ACHTUNG. The gratuitous LSAH (Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler) was the give-away.]

Only a few guests plus Albert H. arrive at the restaurant, and I am the only one to order a meal; the staff do not seem pleased. I then set out to the north-west and drive a hundred miles. Bill T. phones: the John Hancock Tower cannot accommodate us on Friday the fifth, as they are already booked.

This evening at Tallahassee was a fiasco. After fifteen minutes the manager interrupted our dinner to turf us out as they had received "a phone call." Three protestors tramp around outside. Pity, because the Clearwater function was an overwhelming success. Five hundred miles driven today. Not good.

From Denver, Professor E. emails me:

Dear David- there's been a new development here as of yesterday, which may cause some problems for me, but not with your scheduled talks. They are still on. Yesterday the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages received an email from an out-of-state Associate Professor who happens to have a son as a student ... She complained about a few things I had supposedly had said in his class after showing two videos on the terror-bombing of Dresden [in 1945]. ...

He adds:

I wonder whether you have enough time after Wednesday's talk to make it all the way to Madison for the next day's talk if you are driving alone? I know you are pretty tough but I'm worried you might fall asleep at the wheel. It's about a thousand miles and 15 hours of driving. That drive would kill me... We need you alive.

I reply: "Sorry to hear of those tangled problems. One way of defusing opposition is to offer time to somebody with different views to follow my talk for, say, ten minutes. I can't quite see what the fuss is about." As for the distances involved, I add: "I have driven five hundred miles today across Florida, and five hundred miles two days before that.


August 26, 2008 (Tuesday)
Dothan -- Montgomery -- Greenville (Alabama)

Hitler self portraitI ARRIVE at Montgomery at three p.m., and park the truck on the far side of the freeway, a mile's walk away. By seven p.m. we have a full room. Better than I had expected. Alas, during the following talk I discover that the Hitler sketch is missing from the brown envelope, which is a serious mystery. The last person I saw handling it was Albert H. last night. It is useless to anybody without the covering documents, and I still hope it may turn up in one of the boxes.

The highways are very empty without Gabriela, and her side of the Avis truck is now a vasura.

I try to phone Albert, but he does not reply.


August 27, 2008 (Wednesday)
Greenville (Alabama) -- New Orleans (Louisiana)

I RAPIDLY print a hundred letters for the Denver function, and mail them from Alabama. I set out for New Orleans at one p.m.

A miserable evening follows. The hotel banquet room is far too large, its total cost will be around $850; including my overnight room, I won't get much change out of a thousand dollars. Huey H., who has let me in for this, arrives at six p.m. -- a tall, thin, eighty- or ninety-year old, who smiles repeated apologies, he had not seen it for himself etc., etc.

We do have an interesting discussion, about personalities and "mutual friends". Two or three of them know D. personally, and after initial hesitations they unite in vocal criticism of his behaviour: he is now living, or skiing, in Austria, of all places ... and getting away with it. There is common assent that all this is very suspicious: I suggest the "authorities" there are using him as an unwitting honeypot to trap right-wingers who write and email to him. I am glad to hear that Christie Martin has ... married last year and now has a child. They will send her my best wishes.

Two of them ... know the South African spy A., and there are loud suspicions voiced about him too -- he was a paid agent of BOSS, then of the post apartheid intelligence service, and is now an adviser to the BNP! I tell them of his strange phone call to me in the wake of the assassination of Chris Hani, the Communist leader. A man to steer well clear of.

The talk turns to Clive Derby-Lewis: he and the hired assassin Peter Walusz are still in a South African jail, but no longer on Death Row. Clive is seventy-six and ailing. I ask one of the men who is in contact with him to pass my good wishes on to him, adding that while he has shown he is a brave man and a patriot, what he did cannot be condoned.


THE truck's radio chirps alarming news reports all day about an oncoming Hurricane "Georgia". A rapid check of all the boxes reveals no sign of the missing sketch. One of those three in Tallahassee must have stolen it out of the "top of the box" where Albert placed it. My own sheer folly, or carelessness; I should have personally supervised its safe stowage. It was worth [a lot] and now seems lost forever. I shall have to bring in the Florida police. I phone Albert H. and he volunteers to take it up with the restaurant manager, in case it "fell out". Albert also intends telling the manager what he thinks of him, so I do not expect the manager to be very cooperative.

What went wrong in New Orleans? The whole economy is slowing down.


August 28, 2008 (Thursday)
New Orleans (Louisiana)

BBC RADIO contacts me: "We've now confirmed the studio in Denver for next Tuesday morning for the Radio 4 programme "THE REUNION" on the Hitler Diaries [scandal of 1983]. ... The other people taking part in the programme are Gerd Heidemann, Magnus Linklater (Sunday Times Features Editor at the time) and Phillip Knightly (Sunday Times Special Correspondent at the time). We'll cover the story right through from your own first call to the Sunday Times in late 1982 to the final judgement of the Bundesarchiv and then the trial of Heidemann and Kujau." They add: "There will be a fee for taking part of £150."

I wisecrack: "As the senile Oxford don said, 'Where do I send the cheque?' -- I will be there."

Albert H. writes: "Dear David,

I never called Gill's last night because I am absolutely certain that the postcard did not fall out in the parking lot. I found it in a medium box, held it up for everyone to see and placed it back in on top, folding the flaps over. I'm not sure who I handed the box to, because everyone was lending a hand but I definitely saw it get loaded into the back.

I reply: "It is lost for ever, and I am as sick as a dog over the loss."


August 29, 2008 (Friday)
New Orleans -- Shreveport (Louisiana) -- Texarkana (Arkansas)

I DRIVE on all day, four hundred miles or more, arrive at Shreveport at six p.m., find organiser Rusty McG. there already and eat a fine supper of chicken breast, Cajun style; I talk for an hour informally with the guests and I drive on at nine-thirty p.m. up Route 71, despite the GPS [satellite navigation] "woman" shrieking to me to use the Interstates and indicating 775 miles for the trip to Kansas City. Hey-ho. She was right. Route 71 turns out to be a single-lane, slow highway with many traffic lights. This is going to take all of two days and a lot of gasoline.


August 30, 2008 (Thursday)
Texarkana (Arkansas)

The Professor reports the latest from Denver: "The university lawyer told the Chair that the administration could do nothing to stop me from inviting you to my classes. She offered a history professor the opportunity to sit in on your lecture ... He declined. Good. He's had his chance, and I can use that info in class to his detriment."

I reply: "Sad, that your professor declined to attend. What cowards."

Another academic, Stan H., has written to thank me for my visit to Shreveport:

One thing I wanted to tell you, but time did not allow, is that it was you who got me introduced to real history in a roundabout way. Sometime in the late '80's, our local paper ran an article about a violent demonstration that had taken place in London in protest of your books. Bookshop windows were smashed and the article said that your apartment door had been kicked open by the thugs.

The article said the "protesters" objected to your "revisionist" views. (I'm sure I don't remember the exact wording.) So I though, "Well, where there is smoke there is fire. If these assholes objects to another person's views so violently, there must be substance to those views."

I told my wife what a pleasure it was to meet you. I earned a Master's degree in history but I never pursued the discipline. I just have always enjoyed history. Doing what you do is too much work. My academic background does allow me to appreciate more than most the rigor of your methods. That is what impresses me more than any other aspect of your work. You go find, acquire, process and arrange original source material. Nearly all other WWII historians get their material shrink wrapped, so to speak.

My opinion is that you will be recognized by future generations (who will be more free than we are) not only as THE pre-eminent WWII historian of all times, but one of the most influential persons of the last 100 years. I cite my story above as an example of influence.


I SEND this bleat to my London attorney: "Hello T., Are you reading your emails? Sorry for the repetition, but if you are not there then I will go ahead and handle this alone. I am on the road today, driving north 750 miles to Kansas City, but I will at least acknowledge any reply."

At nine-thirty a.m I explain to a friend: "I am in a horrible town on the Texas/Arkansas border, filled with fourth- and even fifth-world people. Took enough to cover the day's petrol, plus a motel room at midnight -- thirty-five dollars, run by [Asian] Indians, room already occupied by a dozen bugs and much filth everywhere; I was so tired I took it, though I brought in my own pillow from the truck. I made myself a coffee this morning, vanilla-flavored as a punishment for having planned this so badly. Today, a 750-mile drive up to Kansas City along minor roads. Not well planned. I have stopped at a McDonalds to recharge my cellphone and to post the final mail-out (for Madison and Chicago) before I drive on."

An unexpectedly pleasant drive follows, under blue skies. I drive all day north through Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri, and pull up outside the hotel at Kansas City at 8:20 p.m., earlier than anticipated, as a wonderful orange sunset plunges the western plains into its fire.

I write to Professor E. in Denver: "I propose to talk to your classes in general about writing about Adolf Hitler, and in particular on the thesis I develop in my new Heinrich Himmler manuscript, that while there is undeniably some truth to the Holocaust story, and I am not going to quibble about figures, I believe that Himmler was keeping Hitler out of the loop, and was deliberately faking a paper trail to dupe posterity. I have key documents with me. I shall also mention that Himmler's brother thought my theory implausible ('Heini was too much of a coward'); but Himmler was keeping him out of the loop too, it turns out."


August 31, 2008 (Sunday)
Kansas City (Missouri)

AT 9:35 a.m Jessica phones from London; the cash has arrived, and can I phone her for a chat this evening at nine as she's going out? No, I say, I have a meeting starting here at that time (three p.m. here). Jessica says [...] is not well, and adds, "She's in pain," with some light stress on the painful word. She sounds very stoical about it. I am so sad, and I suddenly realise that Jessica's A's are beautifully pronounced -- I am so proud of the way she now speaks, even better since she has gone to Latymer. She clearly has well-educated friends too. I am returning to England none too soon.

I spend an hour carrying boxes of books upstairs from the truck. I empty out the whole rear and look for the missing item. It seems definitely lost at Tallhassee. I am furious.

I email to Albert, non committally:

I today in Kansas City emptied out the whole truck and searched inside all the boxes and beneath the boards etc., and there is no sign of that sketch. As said, I am sick as a dog about it, in fact very angry indeed. It was my old-age retirement fund. Either it fell out and a steakhouse employee found it, or one of our guests was dishonest and stole it. ... If it does not turn up by the time I turn the truck back in, I shall have to notify the Florida police of this theft. Something I really did not need! The entire tour has just about broken even, plus or minus a hundred dollars. Three months work for nothing, and now this!

I write to Gabriela in Buenos Aires: "How are the driving lessons going. ... I found the missing English check-book under the boards of the truck, after I cleaned out all the boxes here! I was looking for something else."

At three p.m. my invited half-dozen guests turn up in the K.C. suite. While I am talking, a John G Martin phones, asking for directions for Tuesday's Denver meeting. He has registered but is not known to us. I tell him to phone after six p.m. but I do add that it is in Aurora. He sounds pleasant and educated.

I shortly discover that this Martin is a leftwing agitator. I now tell him where to go in Denver -- and direct him to a spurious location!

Please keep confidential: ... I am speaking at the Embassy Suites Denver -- Aurora, which is located at 4444 North Havana Street. ... Proceed direct to function room A. The hotel is part of the Hilton group and has once again kindly agreed to inform callers that no Irving function is taking place! You should aim to be there at 7 p.m., but please not before. I look forward to seeing you there for free refreshments at the Manager's Reception -- and then my talk.

With a smile on my face, off to bed just after midnight.

Carla Venchiarutti

September 1, 2008 (Monday)
Kansas City (Missouri) -- Denver (Colorado)

I SHALL be driving all day. I send cash to Benté in London. En route to Denver, I stop for an hour at Abilene and read emails. I first came to this town, almost in the dead-centre of the USA, in 1976, then again fifteen years later and about fifteen years after that: David Haight was still the curator at the Eisenhower museum, and still recalled Carla Venchiarutti (right) who was my personal assistant thirty-two years ago. It was a very one-horse town at that time.


I DRIVE on alone, all day. I am in Denver, after a 750 mile drive from Kansas City. About two-thirds of the way across the Great Plains I mentally register the beep as the fuel-gauge warns that there are only fifty miles' gas left, and I promptly forget about it as I daydream on at the wheel.

After half an hour, I suddenly recall that message with a start, and check: "10 MILES LEFT." I am on the open road, with just empty prairie all round, not a bush or tree in sight, and an arrow-straight Interstate running to the horizon ahead. I slow right down to seventy to conserve fuel, and visions of limping miles on foot carrying an empty fuel-can dance in my head. Five, six, seven miles pass in this agony.

I steal a look at the gauge: "3 MILES LEFT." Aaargh! A gentle rise comes toward my truck, and over the top I cruise, and there behold: a solitary gas station two miles ahead. Whew. I take care not to miss the exit, believe me. Since leaving Kansas City I have seen today that at least a dozen gas stations are closed -- ghost gas stations in the middle of nowhere.

An unsettling day, and the damnable thing was, there is nobody with me I could have blamed if I had run out of gas.


September 2, 2008 (Tuesday)
Denver (Colorado)

I LEAVE for the Colorado Public Radio building at nine a.m. and record the discussion with the BBC's Sue McGregor as moderator until eleven-thirty a.m. We revisit the whole history of the fake Hitler Diaries scandal of 1983. It is good fun: the other participants are Philip Knightley who sounds older than I, but says he is younger, a very deferential Magnus Linklater, and Gerd Heidemann with whom I exchange a furtive conversation in German about [...]. I drive after that straight over to the university.

From one p.m. I talk in a lecture theatre, and get a very attentive reception, except for one Jewish girl who asks the usual insulting questions. Nobody else pays attention to her, and several come up afterwards and congratulate. One girl says that having listened to me she can not understand why I am being constantly defamed in the media. Quite so. The professor has videotaped my whole presentation as self-defence, I am glad to say.

I drive straight over to the Denver restaurant for this evening's talk. A large crowd fills the tables. The restaurant charges me rather a lot, the meals are of inferior quality and not worth $20 a head.

The Leftist-agitator Mr Martin phones me politely at seven p.m., no doubt from the Embassy Suites, to ask where the meeting is, as he "cannot find" it. Small wonder. I say: "Nor will you! I am refunding your registration fee. Goodnight," and hang up. I refund Martin's credit card payment online, before he can complain, and hit my bed after midnight. Tomorrow's thousand-mile drive over to Madison will cost $300 in petrol.


September 3, 2008 (Wednesday)
Denver (Colorado) --

Back to the university in Denver, and I speak from one to 2:15 p.m. to a second class of about eighty. The professor's students give me rapt attention and ask good questions at the end. I love student audiences.

At three p.m. I find a Western Union office ... then at four I set out on the drive East. I check the GPS: It will be an all-night, sixteen-hour drive, with 1,063 miles to go to Madison.


September 4, 2008 (Thursday)
Madison (Wisconsin) --

I drive all night, and speak to a good audience in Madison in the evening.


September 6, 2008 (Saturday)
Chicago (Illinois)

Below: The farewell dinner at the Chicago Hilton, with which Mr Irving ends his seventy-city tour, is over-booked and staff have to bring in more tables and chairs

Chicago dinner


September 6, 2008 (Saturday)
Chicago (Illinois) -- Miami -Key West (Florida)

I SPEND an hour packaging book orders, and mail them from the Post office at ten a.m. At 12:02 p.m., I am at the Avis location at O'Hare airport and hand back their white truck after four months. I stroke the old girl on the nose and walk fondly around her for one last time; she is tired and dusty, but there is not a chip on her. She has served me well, faithfully and safely during this immense, 30,000 mile adventure. I shall probably not do anything like it again.

To the US Airways desk. My heavy boxes of books have to go in the hold, and I am charged forty bucks for the first, and a hundred each for the remainder. It is still cheaper than what UPS wanted to charge me from Denver, $129 each. I carry the printer and gray attache case on board as hand luggage. The plane takes off at 1:55 p.m., we change planes at Charlotte, where I spoke all those weeks ago, and head on down to "Hurricane City." We land at Miami at eight p.m., and I drove down to Key West; it is one a.m. on Sunday morning before I arrive, after a leaden half-hour sleep on a parking space.

The whole town is buttoned up, awaiting Hurricane "Ike". Banks, post office, cash machines -- everything I flew down here for, before my return to London -- are steel-shuttered and shut.

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