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Raiders of the Lost Grail

Berlin between the wars was a city known throughout Europe for its bohemian subculture of young intellectuals. Amongst the personalities who hotly debated the many modernist “isms” that were fracturing the old ideological certainties which had glued together the 19th century, few individuals were more colourful than a dark-haired, green-eyed young man named Otto Wilhelm Rahn. His gaunt figure, swathed in characteristic black coat and fedora, casts a long shadow out of those twilight years, a ‘great silhouette’ around which the most extravagant myths accrued. He was variously said to be a Mason, a Rosicrucian, a Luciferian, an agent of the Thule Gesellschaft, an initiated Cathar and even the leader of an obscure, international secret society. As author Philip Kerr puts it, Rahn’s contemporaries might not have been surprised to see “the Scarlet Woman and the Great Beast come flying out of the front door” of his apartment on Tiergartenstrasse. One of his Nazi peers in Heinrich Himmler’s Black Order remarked in an internal memo that he “half suspected Rahn of being in league with the little people”. To this day, it is widely believed that this enigmatic young man knew the whereabouts of one of the most sacred relics in all Christendom – the Most High Holy Grail. But the truth is stranger still…

Mario Baudino

Mario Baudino (Chiusa di Pesio, 1952) è un giornalista, saggista e poeta italiano. Scrive per il quotidiano di Torino La Stampa.

Ha esordito come poeta nel 1978 contribuendo al volume antologico La parola innamorata. Due anni dopo ha pubblicato Una regina tenera e stupenda. Ulteriori suoi lavori sono stati, nel 1988, la raccolta di poesie Grazie (Premio Montale) e nel 1999 Colloqui con un vecchio nemico (vincitore l'anno successivo del Premio Brancati ). Per Guanda ha pubblicato nel 2006 Aeropoema.

Baudino ha dato alle stampe nel 2001, per la collana di saggi della casa editrice Ponte alle Grazie, Voci di guerra. 1940-1945. Sette storie d'amore e di coraggio. Alla seconda guerra mondiale si ricollega anche il saggio storico Il mito che uccide (Longanesi, 2004 ) che racconta le vicende di Otto Rahn, l'uomo che cercava il Graal e incontrò Hitler.